Difference between revisions of "Preparing for Field Data Collection"

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* '''Survey budget/proposal.''' The survey firm that is hired to conduct the '''field survey''' should submit a [[Survey Budget|budget]] that allocates funds to cover salaries, equipment costs, incentives for respondents, and other administrative costs. This should also include country-specific costs, such as taxes.
 
* '''Survey budget/proposal.''' The survey firm that is hired to conduct the '''field survey''' should submit a [[Survey Budget|budget]] that allocates funds to cover salaries, equipment costs, incentives for respondents, and other administrative costs. This should also include country-specific costs, such as taxes.
 
== Survey Instrument ==
 
== Survey Instrument ==
There are several steps involved in preparing and finalizing a '''survey instrument''' (or questionnaire). The [[Impact Evaluation Team|impact evaluation team]] (or research team) should [[Timeline of a Survey Pilot|allocate sufficient time]] for each of the steps.
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There are several steps involved in preparing and finalizing a '''survey instrument''' (or questionnaire). The [[Impact Evaluation Team|impact evaluation team]] (or research team) should [[Timeline of Survey Pilot|allocate sufficient time]] for each of the steps.
 
* '''Draft and pilot.''' [[Questionnaire Design|Design]] the questionnaire based on the context. If a similar data collection process was conducted in the same region, the research team should check if they can adapt the questionnaire used in that study. [[Survey Pilot|Pilot]] the '''instrument''' to receive feedback on aspects like the wording of questions. Use this feedback to [[Piloting Survey Content|improve the content]] of the questionnaire.
 
* '''Draft and pilot.''' [[Questionnaire Design|Design]] the questionnaire based on the context. If a similar data collection process was conducted in the same region, the research team should check if they can adapt the questionnaire used in that study. [[Survey Pilot|Pilot]] the '''instrument''' to receive feedback on aspects like the wording of questions. Use this feedback to [[Piloting Survey Content|improve the content]] of the questionnaire.
 
* '''Translate.''' Hire professional '''translators''' to [[Questionnaire Translation|translate]] the questionnaire. These translators must be fluent in all local languages of the study area, as well as the language of the research team. It is very important to ensure '''version control''', that is, keep track of different versions during the translation process.  
 
* '''Translate.''' Hire professional '''translators''' to [[Questionnaire Translation|translate]] the questionnaire. These translators must be fluent in all local languages of the study area, as well as the language of the research team. It is very important to ensure '''version control''', that is, keep track of different versions during the translation process.  

Revision as of 22:13, 9 April 2020

Preparing for field data collection involves preparing clear protocols and guidelines for each component of collecting data using field surveys. The main components of field data collection are timelines, IRB approvals, instrument design, coding surveys, and enumerator training. Each of these components must be carried out based on best practices in field data collection. Therefore, the research team must establish clear channels for regular communication among all participants- principal investigators (PIs), field coordinators (FCs), survey firm, government agencies, and enumerators.

Read First

  • The research team can either conduct the survey directly, or indirectly through a survey firm.
  • Spending more time on the preparation leads to better quality data.
  • Plan for field data collection at least 6 months in advance of the survey launch.
  • Field data can be collected using Open Data Kit (ODK)-based tools like CAPI and CAFE.
  • With the availability of specialized survey firms, and standardized field management practices, it is important for researchers to follow best practices to collect field data.

Survey Timeline

Preparing the timeline for a field survey involves allocating sufficient time for each stage of the survey process - instrument design, pilot, obtaining approval, procurement, drafting protocols, and training.

The research team should keep the following points in mind when creating a timeline for fieldwork(field data collection):

  • Timing of data collection. Make sure that data collection happens during the relevant time of the year. For example, data on seasonal farm yields in a region should be collected after the harvesting season.
  • Plan backwards. It often helps to plan backwards from the end date of the survey, and decide the start date based on this. However, include some buffer (extra time) in the timeline for delays that might come up in the data collection process. For example, if a lot of the respondents are not available initially, the interviewers may have to visit them on another day.
  • Keep aside more time for panel surveys. Always allow more time for surveys that involve panel data, that is, when the same data is collected several times from the same person or area. This is because tracking participants from earlier survey rounds can take some time. An example of such a case is study that seeks to assess the impact of a micro-finance program on farm yields every 6 months for 3 years in a given area.

IRB Approvals

An institutional review board (IRB) is a an organisation that reviews, approves, disapproves, or recommends changes in surveys that involve human subjects (target population). IRB approvals are important to protect the rights of human subjects.

The research team must seek approval at each of the following stages:

  • Initial approval. Seek approval at the beginning of the study, before any research activity involving human participants begins.
  • Amendment approval. Seek approval before changing any element of the study including design, protocols, or even informed consent norms.
  • Continuing approval. Seek continuing approval every year, even if no element of the survey has changed. This is because risks to participants may evolve through time. Therefore, the research team must report on the progress of the study which received the initial or amendment approval.

Procurement

Procuring a survey firm involves drafting a terms of reference (TOR), and preparing a budget for each component of the survey process. The research team must carefully prepare these procurement-related documents.

  • Survey firm TOR. The survey firm terms of reference (TOR) defines the structure of the project and breaks down the responsibilities of all participants in the data collection process. The TOR lists the scope of work and deliverables (expected outcomes), and allows the research team to monitor the performance of the survey firm once the data collection starts.
  • Survey budget/proposal. The survey firm that is hired to conduct the field survey should submit a budget that allocates funds to cover salaries, equipment costs, incentives for respondents, and other administrative costs. This should also include country-specific costs, such as taxes.

Survey Instrument

There are several steps involved in preparing and finalizing a survey instrument (or questionnaire). The impact evaluation team (or research team) should allocate sufficient time for each of the steps.

  • Draft and pilot. Design the questionnaire based on the context. If a similar data collection process was conducted in the same region, the research team should check if they can adapt the questionnaire used in that study. Pilot the instrument to receive feedback on aspects like the wording of questions. Use this feedback to improve the content of the questionnaire.
  • Translate. Hire professional translators to translate the questionnaire. These translators must be fluent in all local languages of the study area, as well as the language of the research team. It is very important to ensure version control, that is, keep track of different versions during the translation process.
  • Program. After the translations are finalized, program the questionnaire. Check the code and perform test rounds multiple times.
  • Finalize. Conduct a data-focused pilot to ensure that all questions appear in the correct order. Note down how long it takes on average to finish answering the survey. Finalize the instrument for launching.

Protocols

Discussing and agreeing on a set of survey protocols is just as important as finalizing the survey instrument. These protocols describe the responsibilities of each member of the survey process- impact evaluation team, survey firm, interviewers.

Examples include: respondent selection, criteria for dropping and replacing sampling units, guidance on respondent tracking (especially for follow-up surveys), and any other issues related to survey implementation.

All protocols should be drafted, piloted, and then clearly written out and included in the Enumerator Manual.

Develop survey budget

Field work should be planned by the Field Coordinator together with the Survey Firm or implementing partner. Important aspects of the field work, such as the overall timeline and team composition, should be specified in the Terms of Reference for the survey.


Composition and Number of Field Teams

The composition and the number of field teams in a survey depend on a lot of variables. Time constraints are typically the major determinant of the number of field teams that are required. Other key determinants include:

  • Expected interview duration (and closely related, expected number of interviews per enumerator per day)
  • Number of interviews per cluster (to determine number of interviewers per cluster)
  • Cluster locations (how far do enumerators need to travel between clusters? is it possible to cover multiple clusters in 1 day?)
  • Transportation plans (how much of the day will enumerators spend in transit vs. completing interviews?)

Note that it is recommended to plan for a team to spend more than 1 day in a cluster, to allow for re-visits and follow-ups. 1 day per cluster requires very thorough advance scheduling of interviews, and may require a transport-heavy follow-up period at the end of the survey.

Quality control becomes harder as the size of each field team increases. Recommendation is for each field team to be composed of 4-6 enumerators and 1 supervisor (along with a scrutinizer if PAPI and data entry clerk if CAFE.

Field Team Roles & Responsibilities

The roles of various team members during data collection as are follows:

  • Enumerator - Conduct household interviews
  • Supervisor - Manage teams of enumerators, introduce survey teams, check all surveys for completeness, keep log of interviews completed, could do back check surveys
  • Scrutinizer (PAPI) - read through questionnaire in detail to catch errors or inconsistencies that need to be resolved. After approval, send on to data entry team.
  • Back-checker - Administer back-check surveys
  • Research Analyst (CAPI) - develop electronic data collection template, export and review data on daily basis, ensure data matches field logbooks.
  • Data entry coordinator (PAPI) - develop data entry forms, coordinate data entry team, export and review data on daily basis.
  • Data entry clerk (PAPI) - enter data from paper surveys into the electronic template
  • Field Manager - plan and oversee field work, manage all field teams, handle logistics and budget, primary liaison with field coordinator and research team.

Enumerator Training

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