Conference Programme 2015

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


Wednesday 15th July, 11:00 - 12:30 Room: L-103

Survey Research in Developing Countries 1

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. Raising the quality of nationally representative surveys in developing countries: A Nigerian case study on overcoming methodological challenges
Mr Joe Boniaszczuk (GfK South Africa)
Ms Phyllis Macfarlane (GfK NOP UK)
Dr Heiko Rölke (DIPF)

Because of its sheer size (population 160m), logistical challenges, inadequate base data, instability and the very high degree of an informally organized economy and social structure, Nigeria presents a challenging environment to do population surveys 'by the book'. Almost all the challenges to survey research encountered in Developing Countries generally are present in Nigeria. The GfK Verein in conjunction with the DEG has just completed a nationally representative attitude and behavior survey in Nigeria. The paper will reflect on the solutions to the many challenges encountered and provide suggestions and guidelines for population surveys in developing countries generally.



2. Multicultural, Multilingual, Multisocial… Multi-Everything: Empirical learning across 6 years of NIDS in South Africa
Mr Michael Brown (University of Cape Town)

The National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) is a national panel study of individuals of all ages in South Africa. It seeks to track respondent livelihood changes over time. Some 30,000 individuals are tracked for face to face interview along with 14,000 co-residents.
Operating since 2008, NIDS has built up an armoury of processes and approaches to overcome the extreme diversity in peoples, physical /political landscapes and infrastructure across South Africa. This paper is a practical summary of the key operational aspects and coping mechanisms when delivering a study in these conditions, many of which are common across


3. When national censuses met small-scale surveys… A longitudinal project in rural Mali
Mrs Veronique Hertrich (INED)
Mrs Assa Doumbia (INSTAT, Mali)

African demographic knowledge increased thanks to 2 types of data: national data (censuses and surveys) and small-scale demographic systems. The first provide representative data on demographic trends and differentials while the second provide more accurate information and explore the underlying mechanisms at the local level. The paper discusses the opportunity to integrate both sources in a same data collection system in rural Africa. It is based on a follow-up survey in Mali (N=4300,1976-2009), which included individual data from 4 national censuses. We examine the feasibility, the reliability and the potentialities of such cross-linked database.


4. Overcoming Social Desirability Bias: Use of ICVI in a South African Informal Settlement
Mr Wesley Hill (iCOMMS - University of Cape Town)

Overcoming social desirability bias is a challenge in the global south, particularly when engaging populations living in informal settlements, due to a general lack of privacy. ICVI has shown some promise in encouraging truthful responses to sensitive questions in studies carried out in Zimbabwe and India. However, we found that the presence of community leaders during interviews discouraged people’s willingness to engage with the method. This study focuses on the lessons learned through the use of informal confidential voting interviews, or ICVI, to overcome social desirability bias in surveys carried out in a Cape Town informal settlement.