With the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) disrupting daily life all over the world, we’ve noticed the changes in human activity being reflected in Nfield surveys. As regions have gone into lockdown and people have been discouraged, or even ordered, to avoid contact with others, CAPI interviewing has become all-but impossible in some places. Where this has been the case, there has been a significant increase in Online surveys to compensate.To illustrate, we’re sharing usage patterns for Nfield CAPI and Online in our China, South Korea, Spain and Vietnam deployments, so you can see how survey execution has changed along the coronavirus timeline.
While we are, naturally, as concerned about the situation as everybody else, we are pleased to see that our customers have been switching between Nfield CAPI and Online without any problems. This is because we developed these two survey channels with the same scripting language and result format. Switching can therefore be done in just a few minutes, with minimal support needed from our helpdesk.
Nfield CAPI vs Online in ChinaAt the time of writing, China remains the country most heavily impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19). This is reflected in a uniquely dramatic shift in survey channel usage. In normal times, CAPI very much dominates China’s survey activity. But with public spaces mostly deserted, and people being reluctant to interact with researchers, face-to-face interviews have almost completely ceased. Meanwhile, Online surveys have increased significantly to fill some, although not all, of the gap.
The correlation between Nfield usage in China and events on the coronavirus timeline clearly confirms how these are linked. A decrease in survey activity before long holidays such as Chinese New Year, which began on 25 January 2020, is common. Our graph shows an expected reduction in CAPI fieldwork leading up to this. Survey activity remained extremely low while the Chinese New Year holiday was extended to 2 February, due to the disease. As people gradually started returning to work in Beijing/Tianjin/Hubei/Sichuan, albeit from home, survey activity resumed on a very small scale. After the first ten days this increased to some extent, but almost exclusively via Online.
Nfield CAPI vs Online South KoreaAs of 5 February, there were fewer than 20 confirmed cases of coronavirus in South Korea, although the gradual increase in neighboring China was starting to cause alarm in other countries. By 7 February we were seeing a drastic decrease in CAPI face-to-face interviewing, while use of Nfield Online grew to twice its normal amount. As widespread infection took hold in South Korea, Online survey usage tailed off again to normal levels. Meanwhile, CAPI diminished greatly, but not completely.
Nfield CAPI vs Online in SpainSpain’s Nfield usage pattern is very similar to that seen in South Korea, although the early February switch from CAPI to Online happened sooner and more drastically than in South Korea. In Spain, a 3-day Online spike suddenly dropped off again on 13 February, after which there was a reduction in both CAPI and Online. CAPI continued to play a diminished role in Spain’s survey landscape until the last two days of the month.
By 5 March (a week after CAPI all-but disappeared from use), the Spanish government advised companies to send workers home to reduce contact. On 6 March, Spain ranked 7th in the world for the number of confirmed cases. We expect to see the impact of these measures in March volume reports.
Nfield CAPI vs Online in VietnamThanks to prompt and decisive governmental action, Vietnam did a very good job of containing the spread of coronavirus and preventing it from getting out of control. Like China, Vietnam had a relatively long new year holiday. However, the Vietnam government declared coronavirus to be an epidemic at a very early stage, on 1 February, when the number of confirmed cases stood at 6. As a result, Vietnam only had 16 reported cases, with the last one declared on 13 February. Usage patterns for both Nfield CAPI and Nfield Online very quickly returned to normal when new cases stopped being reported.
A WHO official, called Park, told Al Jazeera¹: “The country has activated its response system at the early stage of the outbreak, by intensifying surveillance, enhancing laboratory testing, ensuring infection prevention and control and case management in healthcare facilities, clear risk communication message, and multi-sectoral collaboration.”
Hoping for a speedy recovery
At the time of writing, nobody knows how things will develop with coronavirus. As with the rest of the world, we are very much hoping the disease will be contained, cured and eradicated quickly. In the Netherlands, which is our home base, the first case was confirmed on 27 February. This was relatively late compared to other European countries. In 9 days, the number had risen to 128 cases. Everyone has to remain on high alert. We hope our customers worldwide and teams in the Netherlands, Spain, Buenos Aires and China are able to stay healthy and strong.
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