Naomi Waithira is the Head of Data Management at the Mahidol Oxford Research Unit (MORU), a collaboration between the University of Oxford and Mahidol University in Thailand. Naomi's team is responsible for helping MORU's researchers collect and manage research data and they use ODK for 10 large-scale research projects on tropical diseases across Asia and Africa.

The places where MORU works don't always have reliable Internet and so support for offline data capture is essential. Historically, MORU used paper forms that were then sent for transcription and analyzed for errors. Unfortunately, if an error was found, it was often too late to go back to the study site to correct the error.

"ODK serves a specific need [for researchers]: offline data collection."

MORU has an experienced technical team to support clinical research and they had many options to choose from when considering an electronic data capture solution. MORU chose ODK because it provided:

  • A solution optimized for offline data collection
  • Industry-leading data protection and security
  • Better data quality to inform public health decisions

Data provenance is key to clinical research. ODK's ability to log every action taken in an audit trial during data collection and management was an important requirement for MORU. Another was easy reporting. ODK's integrations with R and Python meant that Naomi's team could connect ODK to their existing analysis pipelines.

Lab technician cleaning arrays used in studies (© Unsplash)

Beyond the software, MORU finds the active community around ODK to be its best feature. For example, the ODK community forum has more than 15,000 people who share their experience and help each other succeed.

For Naomi, the findings that are generated from research are only as strong as the data that is supplied with those findings. And so, the reason why MORU uses ODK for their offline data collection is simple. ODK makes it easy for MORU to collect data that the broader researcher community can trust.

Collecting data for research?

ODK helps researchers securely collect high-quality data offline.