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Papua New Guinea

Seven tips for conducting field research in education

Kabira Namit's picture
Also available in: Français
An elementary student with an enumerator in Wewak, Papua New Guinea. (Photo: Kabira Namit / World Bank)


So, you are about to start field research in education. Whether you are planning a randomized control trial or a quasi-experiment, hopefully these tips may help!
 
Devote time and energy towards recruiting and training enumerators (your survey personnel). Someone once said that training enumerators is 95% of the battle in conducting good field research. I would argue that that would be dramatically underestimating its importance. The enthusiasm and perseverance of the enumerators makes or breaks all the hard work that has gone into designing the experiment. And so, in general, devoting at least a week to training them and letting them pilot the tool is essential. I find that reminding enumerators of the higher purpose behind the study really helps as well – in a small way, our shared work is helping improve literacy and numeracy outcomes for children across the world and that’s something that they should rightfully take pride in.

Sept recommandations pour mieux mener votre recherche sur le terrain

Kabira Namit's picture
Also available in: English
Un élève interrogé par une recenseuse à Wewak, Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée. (Photo: Kabira Namit / World Bank)


Vous comptez donc vous lancer dans des travaux de recherche sur le terrain ! Qu’il s’agisse d’un essai randomisé contrôlé ou d’une analyse quasi-expérimentale, j’espère que les conseils suivants vous seront utiles…
 
Consacrez le temps et l’effort nécessaires pour recruter et former vos recenseurs. Quelqu’un a dit une fois que la formation des recenseurs est pour 95 pourcent dans la réussite d’une étude menée sur le terrain. À mon avis, ce chiffre sous-estime l’importance de cette phase critique ! L’enthousiasme et la ténacité des recenseurs peuvent avoir un effet multiplicateur sur les efforts consentis lors de l’élaboration du plan de recherche, tout comme le manque d’enthousiasme et de ténacité peuvent les anéantir. En règle générale, il faut au moins une semaine pour former les recenseurs et leur faire tester l’instrument.  Il est bon également de rappeler aux recenseurs l’ambition de l’étude : notre travail commun vise à améliorer, même à petite échelle, les résultats scolaires des enfants de par le monde… et on se doit d’en être fier.  Les étudiants universitaires, encore aux études ou fraîchement diplômés, font d’habitude d’excellents recenseurs, car ils ont encore une passion pour le voyage et les nouvelles découvertes, se sentent plus à l’aise avec les appareils technologiques, sont mieux à même de supporter le travail ardu et peuvent marcher les trois heures supplémentaires qu’il faut pour parvenir à l’école qui, tirée au sort, se trouve au fin fond du territoire. 
 

Why we should invest in getting more kids to read — and how to do it

Harry A. Patrinos's picture
Data shows that huge swaths of populations in developing countries are not learning to read. Scaling up early reading interventions will be a first step toward addressing these high illiteracy rates.
Data shows that huge swaths of populations in developing countries are not learning to read. Scaling up early reading interventions will be a first step toward addressing these high illiteracy rates. (Photo: Liang Qiang / World Bank)


It is estimated that more than 250 million school children throughout the world cannot read. This is unfortunate because literacy has enormous benefits – both for the individual and society. Higher literacy rates are associated with healthier populations, less crime, greater economic growth, and higher employment rates. For a person, literacy is a foundational skill required to acquire advanced skills. These, in turn, confer higher wages and more employment across labor markets .

Education and economic development: Five reforms that have worked

Harry A. Patrinos's picture
Also available in: Français
Education systems are simply not performing as needed; not as economies demand, and not as parents desire. Yet it’s important to celebrate and recognize the success of countries that have made significant advances. (Photo: Sofie Tesson / Taimani Films / World Bank)

Every sector is reforming to meet the changing demands of the global economy. Except one. Education remains a predominantly public service.  This is fine except that it means that this is also mainly publicly-provided, publicly-financed, and regulated. No public service agency is expected to do as much as we expect of education. How are education systems around the world faring?

Éducation et développement économique : retour sur cinq réformes efficaces

Harry A. Patrinos's picture
Also available in: English
Les systèmes éducatifs ne sont tout bonnement pas à la hauteur des besoins économiques ni des attentes des parents. D’où l’importance de célébrer et prendre acte des succès importants obtenus dans certains pays[MPS1] . (Photo : Sofie Tesson / Taimani Films / Banque mondiale)

Here’s the evidence that low cost reading programs can have a big impact

Harry A. Patrinos's picture
Photo: © Dana Smillie / World Bank


The importance of literacy for economic growth and development is already well established in economic research.  Literacy enables people to access information and improve their productivity.  I believe that literacy is crucial to the diffusion of new technologies, especially among the poor. It produces high economic returns, so much so that early literacy is viewed as a threshold for economic development.

READ this: Why we must measure literacy at an early age

Harry A. Patrinos's picture
Also available in: Español
Measuring young children's skills in Malawi.


A couple of years ago Room to Read, a non-profit organization for improving literacy and gender equality in education in the developing world, implored viewers to try to not to read anything at all in a popular ad.