Many have argued that monitoring conducted exclusively by scientists is insufficient to address ongoing environmental challenges. One solution entails the use of mobile devices in broadly-applied participatory monitoring programs. But how digital data entry affects programs with varying levels of stakeholder participation, from volunteer data collectors to those entirely administered by non-scientists, remains unclear.
A new study now published in Conservation Biology, led by Jeremy Brammer of McGill University, Canada, and co-authored by Finn Danielsen of NORDECO, have reviewed the successes, in terms of management interventions and sustainability, of 107 published programs and compared this analysis with case studies from experiences in six countries. The paper concludes, that, implemented effectively, digital data entry can enable the collection of more data of higher quality. Implemented ineffectively, or where it is unnecessary, digital data entry can be an additional expense that distracts from core monitoring objectives and undermines project sustainability. The appropriate role of digital data entry in participatory monitoring likely depends more on the context in which it is used and less on the technology itself.
More information here.