Case Study

Canan Ziylan, MSc
PhD Candidate

Canan ZiylanWhen Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research, a Dutch university research partnership, needed to interview staff and patients in a rest home, researcher Canan Ziylan streamlined surveys, saved time, and reduced errors by choosing iSURVEY.

Undernutrition is a common problem for institutionalized elderly in The Netherlands. Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research carried out a study to determine the efficacy of ‘Enjoying the meal’, a multi-pronged initiative designed to combat the issue. To do this, they needed a survey solution that could handle their complex questionnaire, as well as drastically reduce the time needed to carry out an interview. 

The study faced two major problems. The first: navigating the in-depth survey without introducing error. Carrying out long questionnaires on paper increases the chance of making a mistake, especially if sections need to be skipped. 

“If you tick A, you go to question B, or 8, or you skip 20 questions and go to question 30 – it’s really a complex questionnaire,” explained Canan. “For us it was most useful because you can’t make mistakes. It automatically skips questions, or gives you the question you have to answer. The required field function was really useful for us because sometimes researchers forget to fill out the question, or skip it, and now we can prevent mistakes.”

Time constraints were also a big issue for Canan and her research team. Nurses are often in a rush, and their time is very valuable. “With paper, it’s a little bit slower,” she said. “And [with iSURVEY] you can just click and next screen, click and next screen – it’s really faster. And this is really, really useful because nurses are always too busy.”

The other big advantage for Canan was the ability to upload and export data quickly, easily, and cleanly. “It’s directly imported to SPSS which is really useful, because normally we have to enter all the data by hand. And that’s again prone to errors,” she said. “We don’t have much time to do it ourselves so we let students do it, but they are not always as meticulous as we are. So then we have room for errors and that’s really a problem for research.”

“We are really happy that it’s automatically saved and uploaded to the servers, and you know you don’t lose any data. Even when you accidentally shut off the iPad or something happens, it’s still saved, so it’s a really reliable system.”

Organisation Snapshot

Wageningen UR (University and Research centre) is a partnership between Wageningen University and the DLO Foundation, a non-profit amalgamation of agriculture researchers. The core areas of Wageningen UR’s work are food and food production, living environments, and health, lifestyle and livelihood. It has branches throughout The Netherlands and a staff of 6,500 - 10,000 students from over 100 countries working on projects all around the world.