Changing the Data Collection Paradigm: Lessons Learned from COVID 19
Category: International Association for Official Statistics (IAOS)
In early 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading, many National Statistics Institutes (NSIs) worked with local governments and national heath authorities to temporarily revise or suspend data collection operation. In numerous cases, all in-person data collection was suspended, and NSIs pivoted to gathering survey information via the web, mail, or telephone. As nations emerge from the pandemic, how NSIs collect data may not be the same post-pandemic as it was pre-pandemic. Should some, or all, of the data collection adjustments made during the pandemic be retained? Assessing the effect of using different and, perhaps, more mixed modes is critical to answering this question. In many cases, to meet the demands for current information, new procedures were implemented without being fully tested, giving rise to questions about the quality of the resulting estimates. In this session, speakers working in diverse areas of official statistics will discuss the strategies being used to determine how the innovative data collection methods developed during the pandemic will affect post-pandemic approaches to data collection. The potential differences in pre- and post-pandemic methods as well as the approaches to monitoring changing conditions will be explored as each speaker focuses on how best to produce accurate, reliable statistics in the post-pandemic era. Gero Carletto, World Bank, will discuss the high-frequency telephone surveys that were implemented when the pandemic forced a shift from face-to-face interviews and the impact this effort has had and will have on post-pandemic data collection. Aberash Tariku, Ethiopian Statistics Service, will review the transition from fully face-to-face data collection to electronic data collection and transfer, the implementation of virtual training for field staff, and the improved processes that will continue during the pot-pandemic era. Leonne Hollanders, Statistics Netherlands, will highlight how the collaborative efforts between Statistics Netherlands and Statistics Canada to develop a vision of Future Advanced Data Collection well before the pandemic helped Statistics Netherlands produce quick, relevant information during the pandemic and how those efforts will impact post-pandemic data collection. Barbara R. Rater, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, will discuss the common issues identified by the speakers and potential opportunities for collaborative efforts toward better data collection.