Undergraduate Thesis - help, ideas, advice, warnings


I've sent this email originally to Dr. Serge Raemaekers (abalobi.info) and
the Blue Vengers Conservation (blueventures.org), who is doing an awesome
and inspiring work using ODK on fisheries science. Although my questions
are a little bit specific, I decided to send this email here at the ODK's
community because there are some general and technical questions that I'm
pretty sure that you can help me. So thank you for taking your time to read
and help me on it.

··· --

My name is Gustavo Zanfra Paitch, I'm a student of Oceanography from the
Federal University of Parana (UFPR), Brazil. I took an internship in the
School of Marine and Environmental Affairs at the University of Washington,
Seattle, during the last summer (2015), where I worked with a data
collected in American Samoa. The data were collected through a specific
survey (paper). It took me a considerable data entry time, digitalizing and
processing all data collected, so I researched for an alternative. After a
while, I found the ODK tool which could be the solution for all my
problems. Since I'm in the last year of my graduation, I need to write my
final thesis as part of the graduation program.

As I mentioned, I’m writing my thesis, so at this time I’ve focused mainly
on the thesis’ introduction, trying to understand and make a timeline to
explain why this tool is important co-relating different aspects, as the
fisheries crisis, monitoring issues and so on, and showing that the usage
of ODK as a tool in the monitoring and data collection can be an important
adaptive co-management tool.

I still struggling with the 3 W’ questions “where”, “when”, “who” and “how”
to apply the ODK.

“Where” -> Actually, this is not a problem, there are a lot of different
locations with different fisheries characteristics where I live, the main
problem is to choose and focus in one.
“When”--> I was thinking in a seasonal fishery as the crab harvesting,
however, the crab harvesting season in Brazil is between December and
February, and I won’t have time to do it due that I need to finish my
thesis in later November 2016. The other option is the “mullet fishing”
(aka “Tainha” in Brazil) which is going to start now in May. I do have
other option but nothing clear by now.
“Who” -- > I do believe that the ODK can be useful not only as researcher’s
tool (switching surveys papers for example) but also as a self-monitoring
tool used by the own fisherfolks. So here I do have two different “who” but
my main focus now is the second option.
“How” -- > This is my biggest problem right now because it depends on the
other “W’s questions”. For sure my methodology will be based on
participatory approaches, but I do not have clear which one yet. I would
appreciate if you have some methodology to share that you think can be
better. Another huge problem is a lack in devices (I meant smartphones),
I’ve seen that Abalobi Project got some devices through donation, I want to
try this approach too since we do not have the budget to buy a new device
or even a used one. Do you have some advice about it?

I do have other specific questions. In my last group meeting which I’ve
explained my project to my advisor (Dr. Rodrigo Pereira Medeiros) and
colleagues at the NESPAMP (Center for Studies in Fisheries and Marine
Protected Areas) and they came with fundamentals questions and concerns:

  •         Since my time is limited (November 2016), I won’t have enough 

time to work with the data analysis, so I would focus on the perception of
the fisherfolks (feedback in general) related to the use of the smartphones
by them.

  •         Thinking about the perception, how many fisherfolks would you 

consider a good number statistically?

  •         Thinking as a fisherfolk, why would I record those data? What 

would self-motivate me to do this?

Given this point, briefly, my idea is to give a smartphone device with ODK
preloaded and configured for some fisherfolks with the objective for them
to record a specific survey doing a self-monitoring process, including them
in all process since the developing of the survey till the data analysis.
Those collected data I would like to make it open to everyone sharing in a
website as SEAUP (www.seaaroundus.org), Ocean Health Index
(www.oceanhealthindex.org), and others. I don't have any programming
language knowledge, so I've looked into WordPress and I built this
temporary website (http://nespodkufpr.scienceontheweb.net) where I would
like to share all data collected on it. To make the plots I will use a
WordPress plugin that will make plot directly from a CSV file. If you have
any idea how to do it in a simple and efficient way, please let me know!
Would be great to see a way where the data sent from ODK Collect can be
automatically updated and shared on the website.

Thank you for your consideration!

I'm looking forward to hearing from you

Kind regards,
Gustavo Zanfra Paitch

Another quick question..

For example, I will give a smartphone with 5 different surveys, "Survey 1",
"Survey 2", "Survey 3", "Survey 4", "Survey 5". Is there a way to make the
answers submitted by the "Survey 5" anonymous?

Thank you again!

Yes, and no.

The short answer is: Provided the analysts don't have access to your ODK
Aggregate server, everything is anonymous if your form does not contain any
identifying data fields.

We expect the form definition to specify all the fields (like name of
respondent) that you want to collect information on.

If you want to track who the data collector is, you would specify in your
form definition a field in which to store that information. This can be
pre-populated using built-in properties that will report the e-mail account
configured in the app or the username (
https://opendatakit.org/help/form-design/examples/#Property_values ), or
the device id.

If you don't capture this information in the form, then it will not be
present in exported CSV files, ODK Briefcase data dumps, or published to
downstream systems.

However, during data submission, some identifying information is

(1) the submission from the device passes the deviceID of the device during
the submission process. (the HEAD request that initiates the submission is
a URL of the form: .../submission?deviceID=imei%3A9DD706011813771 ). The
ODK Aggregate server does not store this deviceID anywhere, but it will
generally be emitted into the webserver logs, as it is a query parameter on
this request. This deviceID uniquely identifies the device from which the
data is submitted (this isn't passed on every request, just this first HEAD
request). It is useful when correlating events on the server with
interactions from specific devices. Because this is logged, you can
conceivably correlate a submission with a device and therefore a data

(2) if the server requires authentication (username / password) for
submission (i.e., the Data Collector permission is NOT granted to the
anonymousUser), then the username that authenticated is written into the
audit fields of the data tables storing the submission. If the
anonymousUser is granted Data Collector privileges, no authentication is
performed, and "anonymousUser" is written into those fields. The content
of these audit fields is not exposed in exported CSV files, ODK Briefcase
data pulls, or published to downstream systems. However, because it is
present in the database tables, you can definitely correlate this username
with the submitted data.

I've added this information to the Security and Privacy disclosure page (
https://opendatakit.org/about/security-and-privacy-statement/ )

··· ===== Mitch

On Tue, May 17, 2016 at 10:08 PM, Gustavo Zanfra Paitch gpaitch@gmail.com wrote:

Another quick question..

For example, I will give a smartphone with 5 different surveys, "Survey
1", "Survey 2", "Survey 3", "Survey 4", "Survey 5". Is there a way to make
the answers submitted by the "Survey 5" anonymous?

Thank you again!


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Mitch Sundt
Software Engineer
University of Washington