Tips for collecting primary data in a Covid-19 era

Tips for collecting primary data in a Covid-19 era

In this ‘How To’ document, ODI provide some suggestions and tips for collecting remote primary data. This document is focused on qualitative primary data collection over the phone. However, some of the tips are also valid for quantitative surveys or questionnaires, and some of the suggestions may be modified for use in more structured surveys. The note starts with ideas about re-thinking an approach. It then moves on to consider what to think about or prepare before a phone interview, followed by how to run the interview. After providing some suggestions on other possible methods, the note concludes with some ethical challenges and proposed solutions. The note is not comprehensive or exhaustive, it is merely a set of hints and suggestions. It will likely be updated as experiences accumulate of doing remote fieldwork alongside challenges and learning in a Covid-19 era.

The following issues are mentioned in the report:

  • Re-thinking study design (and focus)
  • Preparing the phone/video calls for data collection
  • Tips and steps for doing phone interviews
  • Other approaches to obtaining data
  • Ethical considerations and other challenges

Please check the live repository to get more experiences of, and resources for, collecting remote primary data in a Covid-19 era. 


Tips for collecting primary data in a Covid-19 era


Overseas Development Institute (ODI)


Fiona Samuels

Date of Publication: