Here at RHoMIS HQ, we are busy preparing the tool for a significant version update. Having been working with version 1.5 for most of 2019, from January 2020 onwards we are upgrading the entire RHoMIS system to version 1.6. Unlike the incremental survey improvements in the past, the current update is wider ranging and a key step towards bringing together the various elements of the toolkit into a coherent whole.
We have updated the core survey, built a super-short “minimal” core survey, updated all the optional modules, coherently packaged our data processing scripts (for the core content), updated our training materials, and will be updating our website to make all of these easily accessible.
As demand for the tool grows we feel the need for more streamlined systems, and as more and more people want to use the RHoMIS tools, we need to make it as accessible as possible.
One of the most important conceptual developments is that we have clarified two routes for users accessing RHoMIS. The first and more common is the supported model, whereby the RHoMIS team is contracted to adapt the questionnaires, to manage and securely store the data, and then to run our analysis scripts for rapid first-level reporting.
The second model is the ‘do-it-yourself’ (DIY) approach. This is free of charge, but does require some technical knowhow, and runs the risk of producing data which is not compatible with our analysis scripts or efforts to harmonise data for cross-site analyses. While the DIY approach is inline with our open source values, we urge DIYers to be in close contact with our team to ensure that compatibility issues do not occur.
In the version 1.6 update, we have made extensive improvements to the actual core survey. We have improved the flow of questions and wording used, based on experience from over 20 surveys in 2019. There are new, clear bold headings that make in-survey navigation a breeze. A new question grouping structure takes advantage of updates to the ODK source code which means that there is less swiping forwards and backwards to see choice-dependant fields. This makes running the survey quicker and more intuitive, as when certain questions are asked, a follow-on question appears immediately on the same screen.
A key part of version 1.6 is the publication of our analysis scripts. These scripts allow for the near-automated processing of the csv files containing the core survey data, to conduct essential data cleaning, indicator calculations, and rapid reporting. Using the ‘R’ programming language, these are open-source and we hope will support users to increase their ability to understand the vast amount of data that RHoMIS generates.
This update also sees an improvement to our training materials, which had previously consisted of four separate booklets. With v1.6, we have condensed the materials into a single User Manual, to function as a focused handbook for RHoMIS users. It will be made available in the new year along with the updated ODK files.
We are also in the final stages of updating our webpage in-line with the version update. The new training materials, ODK files and scripts will be signposted from the website, alongside our regular blog, scientific publications, and related information. We will also update our website with the latest numbers as RHoMIS has now been implemented in 32 countries and we are on the cusp of 30,000 interviews in our central database.
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The RHoMIS blog is written by a community of practice. The COP is made up of RHoMIS users and creators from across the world. Here we share their stories of how RHoMIS is helping to record and analyse household data.
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