Survey Budget

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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

  • Salaries
  • Allowances
  • Equipment
  • Transport
  • Stationery
  • Communication
  • Other

Step 2: Talk to people who have implemented surveys in your setting!

  • How much do they pay for standard survey items?
  • How do they organize transport and accommodation for enumerators?

Add estimated item costs to the list you made

Step 3: Assumptions - Think through how the fieldwork might be organized

  • Number of surveys per person per day?
  • Number of teams that can be realistically supervised?

Consider time constraints for implementation (especially if a baseline survey), training duration, and field logistics (e.g. will enumerators move by private car, public transport, etc.)

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. Also make sure to take into account gross vs. 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

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