Preparing estimated survey budgets is an important component of planning for and designing an impact evaluation. While the final cost of the exercise may depend on bids from research firms; it is important for the research team to have an accurate estimate of data collection costs, to verify that the data strategy is feasible and the study will be well-powered given the research budget.
Step 1: Make a list of things your budget should include
Step 2: Talk to people who have implemented surveys in your setting!
- How much do they pay for standard survey cost items?
- How do they organize transport for enumerators? Accommodation?
Add estimated item costs to the list you made
Step 3: Assumptions - Think through how the fieldwork might be organized
- Number of surveys/person/day?
- Number of teams that can be realistically supervised?
Consider: time constraints for implementation (especially if a baseline survey), training duration, field logistics (e.g. will enumerators move by private car? public transport?)
Step 4: Bring it all together
Link each budget line item with the assumptions and with the standard rates. It's best practice to add buffer survey days in case of delays (15-20% extra is recommended).
Budget for contingencies: unanticipated delays, re-training, fuel price hikes
Make sure to take into account gross versus net budgeting. There may be country-related administrative costs (i.e. taxes) that you have forgotten.
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This article is part of the topic Survey Firm Procurement
- DIME Analytics' guidelines on survey budgeting