Collecting data from people is often a battle. Subjects don’t turn up, drop out, or your sample is only representative of all the people you could bribe or blackmail into filling out your questionnaire. But there is hope, and as with so many useful tools these days, it comes in the form of a free downloadable app.
Dr Adam McNamara was exhibiting PsyApp at the BNA 2013 Festival of Neuroscience today. As part of Ariadne Computing Ltd, he and his colleagues have developed an app that can be used to collect a wide variety of data, from dietary information to psychometric tests.
He explained to me that one of the advantages of an app is that people can use it “on the go” and don’t need to turn up for appointments, or not as the case may be. And PsyApp can be used to look at how people’s responses vary across hours, days, or even continents, as it provides GPS information about respondents.
PsyApp is currently being used as far afield as Malawi to gather information from children about their bowel movements as an indicator of disease. This data is then used, together with satellite images of local water sources, to understand patterns of disease in the area. In the UK it is also used to look at the effect of mild traumatic brain injury. The fact that PsyApp is easily transported or can be downloaded by individuals, has improved participant recruitment.
But PsyApp isn’t solely focused on psychology. It could be a very useful tool for collecting market research information or for teaching and revision in schools. For more information, have a look at their website.