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survey methods

When bad people do good surveys

Markus Goldstein's picture
So there I was, a graduate student doing my PhD fieldwork.    In the rather hot office at the University of Ghana, I was going through questionnaire after questionnaire checking for consistency, missed questions and other dimensions of quality.   All of a sudden I saw a pattern:  in the time allocation questions, men in one village seemed to be doing the exact same things, for the same amount of time, on two very different days of the week.  
 

Getting to better data: Talking to strangers

Markus Goldstein's picture
About 15 years ago, when I was doing my dissertation research with a professor with experience in fieldwork, we did a 15 round survey with households in Ghana.   Given the frequency of the visits, we based the enumerators in the village.  But we were careful to hire enumerators from nearby big towns -- not the villages in which we were working.  This was partly for skills, but mostly to make sure that the enumerators wouldn't be asking sensitive questions of people they knew.   

Getting to better data: who does the editing?

Markus Goldstein's picture

In a previous post I talked about some issues with collecting gender disaggregating data in practice. Susan Watkins helpfully pointed me to a number of papers which provide more systematic and thoughtful evidence on data collection issues that a lot of us face and I thought it would be useful to summarize some of them here.  

Being indirect sometimes gets closer to the truth: New work on indirect elicitation surveys

Jed Friedman's picture

Often in IE (and in social research more generally) the researcher wishes to know respondent views or information regarded as highly sensitive and hence difficult to directly elicit through survey. There are numerous examples of this sensitive information – sexual history especially as it relates to risky or taboo practices, violence in the home, and political or religious views.

Context and theory

Markus Goldstein's picture

Coauthored with Quy-Toan Do

In response to my blog post last week, one of my colleagues stopped me in the hall and pointed out that I missed the point.   So in response, I invited him to join this week for a discussion.   Our discussion follows:
Toan: A survey without an underlying research question is like salt without pepper.   What you need to do is talk about what questions the survey is designed to answer.

When context matters

Markus Goldstein's picture

coauthored with Sabrina Roshan

Imagine you are out on a pretest of a survey. Part of the goal is to measure the rights women have over property. The enumerator is trying out a question: "can you keep farming this land if you are to be divorced?" The woman responds: "it depends on whose fault it is." Welcome to yet another land where no one has heard of no-fault divorce.


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