Survey Pilot Participants
Typically, conducting a survey pilot requires several stages of planning and discussions. Apart from the impact evaluation team (or research team), survey pilot participants include interviewers, respondents, and even local government agencies. For instance, during the actual field data collection, such as in a computer-assisted personal interview (CAPI), it is the interviewer who reads out the questions to the respondent. But in the piloting stages leading up to the actual survey, people like the field coordinators (FCs) and the principal investigators (PIs) oversee the overall preparation and finalize the survey protocols.
- Survey pilot refers to the process of testing different components of a survey, including content and protocols.
- The pilot is conducted before procuring a survey firm.
- The research team must decide on the timeline and structure of a pilot.
- A complete pilot has three stages - pre-pilot, content-focused pilot, and data-focused pilot.
- Each of the pilot participants has a specific role during each of the three stages.
|Stage 1 - Pre-Pilot||Stage 2 - Content-focused Pilot||Stage 3 - Data-focused Pilot|
|Respondents||Never use any respondents in the final sample. Neighboring villages / schools / firms are good options.||Respondents should be as similar as possible to actual respondents.
Include variations in age, gender, education, and income / socioeconomic status.
|Test sampling protocol by using it to select respondents.
Helps troubleshoot (e.g. find out sampling frame is outdated) and reduces bias in selection.
|Test your sampling protocol, including any revisions based on previous piloting stage|
|Interviewers||Language||Fully fluent (read/write/ speak) in local language and language of research team||Fully fluent (speaking and reading) in local language and language of research team||Fully fluent (speaking) in the local language and language of research team|
|Experience||Experience as qualitative enumerator
|Experience as quantitative enumerator
|Experience as quantitative enumerator
Experience with tablets
|Background||Diversity in age / race / religion / gender / etc||Be mindful of (and learn about) cultural requirements (should women interview women? Can women interview men?)||Interviewer pool should reflect decisions regarding composition of final survey team, based on previous stage|
|Size of Team||Very small (~2). Always accompanied by research team member.||Small (~2-4). Ideally each enumerator accompanied by research team member or other observer.||Larger (~4-8). The more interviews the better for debugging and data checks.|
|Who?||Typically done before survey firm is on board, using local research assistants (STCs hired through the WB or a local PI), local government staff, or university students||Best case scenario: survey firm leads. Staff who will be field supervisors for the upcoming survey act as interviewers. They gain experience with the instrument, which also helps for enumerator training.|
|Research Team||Field Coordinator participates in all stages||PI should participate directly. If not possible, plan for daily debriefs and discussions.||Research Manager or Impact Evaluation Coordinator should participate directly.||Programmer participates directly (to adapt / debug in real time)|
The Field Coordinator plays a central role. Ideally other members of the research team will also participate (particularly important for pre-pilots and content-focused pilots). Staff from the relevant Government Ministry or implementing partner should be included as much as feasible (depending on availability and direct engagement). Typically, it is most productive for all pilot participants (field coordinator, PIs, local partners) to accompany skilled interviewers and observe and take notes, rather than conducting the interviews themselves.