This document has been prepared by the Singapore
Department of Statistics. It has been issued
A special feature of
Singapore's Census 2000 is the new mode of
data collection through Internet. Instead
of CATI (Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing)
or the traditional fieldwork mode of providing
information to Census interviewers, members
of households with Internet access may provide
information through the Internet. This paper
discusses aspects of Internet enumeration
including the advantages, the steps involved
and the requirements for successful enumeration.
OF INTERNET ON DATA COLLECTION
Internet and its twin
development "electronic mail" have established
themselves throughout the world as an information
gateway and a means of quick communication.
Together with the rapid advancement of technology
and rising computer literacy in Singapore,
these factors have made possible Census enumeration
The Singapore Department
of Statistics has studied the potential of
making available this mode of data collection
for Census. Several issues that have been
deliberated and are summarised briefly here:
No Compromise to
Data Quality - Internet enumeration
is like any other data collection mode.
Much depends on the quality of responses
given by the respondent. To ensure data
consistency, basic verification rules
will be set into the system to ensure
that the responses are not obviously wrong
or inconsistent with those given earlier.
Virus and Data Loss - This danger
is minimised as the Internet Working Database
is separate from the main Census Working
Database through an air gap. A series
of security features will also be incorporated
to verify the identity of the respondent.
The Internet Working Database will be
checked thoroughly before stored data
are transferred over to the main Census
Data Collection Mode - Providing an
extra mode of data collection gives the
respondent greater flexibility and choice.
The respondent assumes the responsibility
of initiating the interview process by
entering the Census website and filling
in the form. The Internet is available
24 hours a day and for an extended period
of time during the Census collection phase
of the Census, unlike CATI and fieldwork
where the enumeration period for each
district is fixed. It is estimated that
approximately 20% of respondents will
choose this mode of data submission.
Costs of System Setup
- Additional costs from the initial setup
is compensated mainly by savings from
manpower efforts and printing of forms
which would have been necessary through
OF INTERNET ENUMERATION
In addition to the
feasibility study of submitting data through
the Internet, the Department also examined
the advantages of Internet enumeration. The
following provides a summary:
For the Respondent
- The respondent can provide information
for the household at his own time and
convenience. Should he not be able to
answer all the questions at one go, he
can save the data in the Census database.
When he is ready to provide more information,
he can retrieve the saved information
and complete the forms. The forms will
be designed in a simple and attractive
format that will facilitate the provision
of data. If the data that he finally provides
is clear and complete, no manual intervention
is required by Census Office.
For the Census Office
- The submitted Internet form will be
transferred automatically to our computer
data processors with minimal manual intervention.
The automated process will be implemented
in an integrated manner with other modules
and enable large savings in manpower resources.
There will also be time savings if the
submitted forms are clear and complete.
This will help to make possible quicker
releases of Census results.
COLLECTION FLOW WITH INTERNET
For a given district,
Internet enumeration will be the first mode
of data collection. Respondents will be encouraged
to submit Census forms through this means.
This is followed by CATI interviews and lastly
by fieldwork for non-contact cases.
After the information
has been collected via Internet for a specific
district, the Internet Working Database will
be transferred through an air-gap for merging
into the main Census Working Database. The
CATI method will be used to enumerate the
remaining cases for that district.
BY STEP GUIDE TO FILLING UP AN INTERNET FORM
Form filling on the
Internet will be kept simple and plain to
ensure maximum participation and comprehension
on the part of the respondent. A summary of
the Internet Enumeration instructions to the
Internet respondent is given below:
- Every house that is selected for enumeration
will be notified and provided with a password.
Our database will carry the names of the
residents in the house and their Unique
Identification Number (UIN). Their UINs
will be tied to the house password.
- Once the respondent logs on to the Census
Internet enumeration page, he will be
prompted for his UIN and house password
before he is able to begin enumeration
(Figure 1 in Appendix 1).
Upon successful entry into the enumeration
page, basic information on name, date
of birth and sex will be displayed on
screen. The names of household members
will also be displayed. The respondent
will be requested to fill in information
for himself and his household members
regarding household relationship, marital
status, education, income, occupation,
religion etc (Figure 2 in Appendix 1).
On-line checks will prompt him to re-enter
data that are clearly wrong or inconsistent
with those given earlier.
- If the respondent is not able to complete
the forms, an option is available for
him to save the data. He may recall his
incomplete forms at a later date. If he
does not return by the scheduled date
for his district, his household will be
earmarked for CATI.
- When the respondent has completed the
Census form, the Internet screen will
prompt him for a final confirmation of
the information that he has provided.
Because of the database
approach and to ensure confidentiality,
persons who have shifted house and changed
house address on or after 1 Jan 2000 will
be advised not to submit information on
their households through the Internet
mode. Also for each district, remaining
household records will be transferred
to the CATI mode after the period allocated
for Internet enumeration is over for that
will be the new method of data collection
to be tested and used in Singapore Census
2000. With the increasing popularity of PCs
and Internet services, households may find
this mode of data collection convenient and
efficient. There will be good potential and
advantages to encourage this advanced mode
of self-enumeration in the eye of census planners