Oct 31, 2012

Mobile Apps for the Field Researcher

So, about a month or so ago, I was going over all the productivity apps I have and want and wondered about the measures and indicators of an effective/truly useful productivity app. Goes without saying then that, beyond to-do lists and task schedulers, such a tool would be most optimised if it were contextually relevant to a person’s daily work/routine/life, yes? In this case, contextually relevant to me: for someone whose work is mobile, travelling to remote areas and doing field research (which involves more than textual notes: photos, videos, audio recordings, large document database and sync’ing)—what would be the features and capabilities of an app that would actually help me be productive in my work? And are these even available?

Lo and behold, not only did I find an answer to my queries—I found a gold mine! A list of Mobile and Cloud Qualitative Research Apps on the Nova Southeastern University research journal. Knock your socks off. 


At the moment, I am using EthOS or Ethnographic Observation System, a mobile research tool. It is free, available for iOS, Android and (soon) BlackBerry, and incredibly easy to use. User registration is as quick as a barcode scan. It also ‘talks’ to a project management web app—which is great for desktop/large device-collaborative work, which makes me hope for a native app. But that’s just me.

I am happily playing around with it for now and will only be able to really test out its maximum effectiveness and stretch its limits in the next month.