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New App for data collection and management

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FROM ECOLOG-Listserv https://listserv.umd.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind1407d&L=ecolog-l&X=610AC84D89966F644F&Y=melaniec%40neo.tamu.edu&P=8019



I am a recent Environmental Biology grad leading a team at the education-themed Montreal Startup Weekend. I am pitching our product this afternoon, and would love to hear from ecologists, researchers, educators, etc regarding data collection, data entry, and database quality control.


Our product, Chipmunk, is an app that lets you design custom forms on a web platform, enter your data into those forms using a mobile device, and instantly sync your data to your database in Excel, Access, etc. The interface is drag-and-drop, extremely easy to use, and is designed to prevent human errors in data management by only allowing the recording of valid data (e.g. with drop down menus and pre-set numerical ranges), forbidding data collectors from skipping data fields, and circumventing the (time-consuming) manual data entry process.


Because this Startup Weekend is education-themed, we want to emphasize the value this app could have for student researchers and their supervisors. Yada yada, I have a bunch of questions for you, certainly as research scientists but also as educators :)


1) In your own research roughly what percent of project time is spent entering and checking data in your database?


2) For your own research, would you consider replacing your current data collection method (clipboard, rite-in-the-rain notebook, etc) with a mobile app?


3) How would you incorporate technology like Chipmunk into your classroom? Is there a place for it in higher education curricula? Would it enhance your students’ experience?


4) Do you have budget for software? Would you pay (say, once per term) for a service like Chipmunk that helps you or your students efficiently manage data so you/they can focus on the "more rewarding" parts of research (i.e. planning the experiment, conducting field research, analyzing data, etc)?


5) What additional features would you want a product like Chipmunk to provide? Do you have any advice for our team as researchers and educators?


Thanks so much for your help with this! Please direct your responses to katherineblackwood@icloud.com or get in touch on Twitter: @KatCSB.








Katherine Blackwood





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