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Survey Solutions

How well can you plan your survey: the analysis of 2,000 surveys in 143 countries

Michael M. Lokshin's picture

Our interviewers are still in the field, we need more time to complete the survey, could you extend our server for two more months? We receive such requests every day. Why do so many of our users fail to estimate the timing of their fieldwork?

Survey Solutions is a free platform for data collection developed by the World Bank and used by hundreds of agencies and firms in 143 countries. Many users of the Survey Solutions host data on free cloud servers provided by the World Bank. A user requests a server by filling in a form where he indicates the duration of the planned survey, the number of cases to be collected, and provides other relevant information. We impose no restrictions on how long a user can use the servers. Any survey end date is accepted. Over the last six years we have accumulated data on more than 2,000 surveys. We use information about surveys that collected 50 or more cases for this analysis.

How well can people conducting surveys follow the survey schedule?

Improving how we measure progress in community biodiversity conservation projects in Mozambique

Davi Cordeiro Moreira's picture
Community Officials pre-testing Survey Solutions Application
during training session in Maputo Special Reserve. Photo by
Davi Moreira, World Bank M&E Specialist

What kind of information do you need to assess progress of community projects that aim to improve livelihoods and biodiversity conservation in remote Conservation Areas in Mozambique? More importantly, how do you efficiently collect this type of data and guarantee the level of consistency and quality needed to make strategic improvements in project implementation? 

These are the questions our team faced during our recently concluded Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the World Bank Conservation Areas Development Project (Mozbio)[1]. We learned that there was not more time to wait and by applying the free World Bank-designed Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) Platform Survey Solutions, we could improve data collection and get the Project’s monitoring and evaluation back on track.

The 5-year Mozbio project addresses some of the most pressing challenges to Conservation Areas (CAs) in Mozambique, which covers 25% of the country. Besides strengthening the legal and institutional framework for conservation and promoting nature-based tourism and infrastructure facilities, the cornerstone of the project is to improve livelihood alternatives to local communities that live in and around the CAs. These populations constitute some of Mozambique’s poorest and most vulnerable households. To address this, Mozbio finances small-scale community projects that equip communities with tools to sustainably manage natural resources, engage them in income generating activities and increase their contribution to biodiversity conservation.

What do household surveys and project monitoring have in common?

Michael Wild's picture

For verification purposes Survey Solution's picture question allows to document the installation and their new owner.
The implementation and the monitoring of large infrastructure projects is always a challenge. This challenge is even more pronounced, when the beneficiaries are located at the grassroots level. In the case of the Myanmar national electrification project (NEP), the challenge was the implementation and monitoring of around 145,000 households, community centers and schools, which did not have proper access to electricity and are being newly equipped with solar panels under the first contract. The basic information to be collected and monitored include who receives which type of solar PV systems, when, and by which supplier, and whether the users have been satisfactory with the quality of the equipment and installation, etc. The project is expected to eventually benefit 1.2 million households and more than 10,000 villages over 6 years with new electricity services.

Survey Solutions is already well known for its capacity to deal with large scale household surveys with highly complex questionnaires. One of the main strengths of Survey Solutions is its flexibility in designing a questionnaire. Users can easily create complex survey questionnaires through the browser based interface without the use of any complex syntax. For most of the standard survey questionnaires, the provided basic functions are sufficient.

However, it also offers the possibility to modify the questionnaire beyond the basic capabilities, by using the C# programming language. This allows the users to create questionnaires for very specific, non-standard tasks.