Skip to main content

Table 1 Advantages and disadvantages of using touch screen handheld devices in conducting field workplace health assessments

From: Application of handheld devices to field research among underserved construction worker populations: a workplace health assessment pilot study

Advantages
  No papers (recruitment script, verbal consent form) or pens needed, just the handheld device
  No missing data in the handheld devices, while missing and sometimes unintelligible data on the paper-based option
  Data easily downloaded from device and automatically loaded into Excel spreadsheet
  Clear audit trail of which interviewer administered the protocol and timing of administration
  More usable in inclement weather (using a suitable covering) than paper-based recording system
  Enhanced security features relative to paper data-collection forms (data confidentiality protection)
  Electronic data requires less physical space to store than signed consent or data forms
  Devices are easy to program with web-interface, especially for multiple, simultaneous interview scripts
  No-data entry costs (versus paper-option)
  Construction workers may be interested and willing to complete the interviews themselves using the handheld devices
Disadvantages
  Devices must be powered overnight prior to field data collection
  Keyboard initially cumbersome for some interviewers
  Periodic reviews for residual data remaining on devices and for proper data transmission
  Potential loss of data due to device malfunction
  Lack of acceptance by some researchers
  Initial cost of each handheld device may be moderately high