A Model-Driven Framework for Enabling Flexible and Robust Mobile Data Collection Applications

Universität Ulm

Verteidigung der Dissertation, Johannes Schobel, Ort: O28 / 1002, Datum: 28.09.2018, Zeit: 13:00 Uhr

In the light of the ubiquitous digital transformation, smart mobile technology has become a salient factor for enabling large-scale data collection scenarios. Structured instruments (e.g., questionnaires) are frequently used to collect data in various application domains, like healthcare, psychology, and social sciences. In current practice, instruments are usually distributed and filled out in a paper-based fashion (e.g., paper-and-pencil questionnaires). The widespread use of smart mobile devices, like smartphones or tablets, offers promising perspectives for the controlled collection of accurate data in high quality. The design, implementation and deployment of mobile data collection applications, however, is a challenging endeavor. First, various mobile operating systems need to be properly supported, taking their short release cycles into account. Second, domain-specific peculiarities need to be flexibly aligned with mobile application development. Third, domain-specific usability guidelines need to be obeyed. Altogether, these challenges turn both programming and maintaining of mobile data collection applications into a costly, time-consuming, and error-prone endeavor.
The Ph.D. thesis at hand presents an advanced framework that shall enable domain experts to transform paper-based instruments to mobile data collection applications. The latter, in turn, can then be deployed to and executed on heterogeneous smart mobile devices. In particular, the framework shall empower domain experts (i.e., end-users) to flexibly design and create robust mobile data collection applications on their own; i.e., without need to involve IT experts or mobile application developers. As major benefit, the framework enables the development of sophisticated mobile data collection applications by orders of magnitude faster compared to current approaches, and relieves domain experts from manual tasks like, for example, digitizing and analyzing the collected data.