Conference Programme 2015

Conference floor plans and map
Tuesday 14th July      Wednesday 15th July      Thursday 16th July      Friday 17th July     


Thursday 16th July, 16:00 - 17:30 Room: L-103

Survey Research in Developing Countries 4

Convenor Dr Irene Pavesi (Small Arms Survey )

Session Details

This session explores the challenges involved in conducting survey research in developing countries and discuss best practices in sampling, questionnaire design and fieldwork organisation.

Even more often than in developed countries up-to-date data on population size and composition is absent. Mobile populations, scarcely populated areas and areas connected only by low quality roads and security issues complicate the creation of a sampling frame. What strategies have researchers used to deal with these challenges?

Response rates tend to be high in developing countries. This is in part because in rural areas trust tends to be high or a survey is seen as an interesting break from everyday life. However in some cases the consent of village heads or other local leaders is an order to people to participate. How does this fit with the idea of informed consent?

High poverty in some areas raises ethical questions on whether and how respondents should be compensated for their time; if respondents receive cash or in kind compensation this can lead to competition among households for inclusion in the survey. What are appropriate ways to compensate respondents?

Large household with complex structures can make collection of household data a time consuming and error prone process. How can data be collected in an efficient way?

High ethnic and linguistic diversity poses challenges to both questionnaire translation and selection of interviewers. How can these challenges be dealt with?

If the people who design the questionnaire are not from the country of data collection, what procedures can be used to ensure that concepts in the survey resonate with those of the target population?

We welcome papers on these and related topics, such as reaching female respondents, use of ICT in data collection, surveying in (post-)conflict areas, and surveys among populations with high illiteracy rates

Paper Details

1. A varied methodological approach to measuring labor in agriculture
Dr Amparo Palacios Lopez (World Bank)
Dr Gbemisola "mimi" Oseni (World Bank)

Family labor is a major input in Sub-Saharan African farms which are typically dominated by poor small-holders. The measurement of family labor is critical for estimates of agricultural productivity. Despite its importance, the existing measures of family labor are fraught with measurement error. We explore these issues with a labor survey experiment to measure and compare the impact of different methods of collecting household agricultural labor information in Tanzania and Ghana. This paper assesses the accuracy of the traditional recall surveys versus alternative methods of measurement, and provides information on the practicalities and cost effectiveness of each approach.


2. Can student populations in developing countries be reached by online surveys? The case of the National Service Scheme Survey (N3S) in Ghana
Dr Arnim Langer (KU Leuven)
Mr Maarten Schroyens (KU Leuven)
Dr Bart Meuleman (KU Leuven)

This paper tackles the question whether it is a viable strategy to conduct online surveys among university students in developing countries. By documenting the methodology of the National Service Scheme Survey (N3S) conducted in Ghana, we set out to answer three concrete questions: (1) How can a sample of university students be obtained? (2) How can students be motivated to cooperate in online surveys? (3) Do students have access to technological devices that are required to fill out an online survey?


3. Examining survey based obstacles in research on South African social movements
Mr Thorsten Euler (University of Bremen / Germany)

The paper will display possible problems on conducting an organisational network survey of the South African environmental movement. Obstacles that are tackled include: accessibility, the cultural perception of the research topic, undercoverage in the sampling population, researcher homophily and state-opposition movements when researching protest movements in developing countries. It is based on a current running PhD project in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The author will address the occurrence of such and additional problems (e.g. strikes) during the project and illustrate how these were dealt with.