Published on Development Impact

Survey methods — curated blogs

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This list is a companion to our curated list on technical topics. It puts together our posts on issues of measurement, survey design, sampling, survey checks, managing survey teams, reducing attrition, and all the behind-the-scenes work needed to get the data needed for impact evaluations. updated through July 6, 2023

Survey Methods and Impact Evaluation during Covid-19

Impact evaluation in the time of Covid-19 Part 1

Impact evaluation during Covid-19: What should I do with my ongoing field projects?

Mobile phone surveys for understanding Covid-19 Part I: Sample and Mode

Mobile phone surveys for understanding Covid-19 Part II: Response, Quality, and Questions

Practical tips for implementing surveys during the great lockdown

Measuring how youth spend their time when schools are closed

Practical tips for remotely training enumerators

Improving targeting for mobile phone surveys: a public-private data collaboration



Mystery clients in development research

New developments with the promises and pitfalls of subjective welfare

How to track poverty trends without good consumption data

A technology letdown: using RFID to track inventories in microenterprises

Hard measurement of soft skills

How stable are time preferences? Mixed evidence from two new studies

Challenges in counting the world’s hungry

Measuring the rate at which we discount the future: a comparison of new field-based approaches

Three new papers on measuring stuff that is hard to measure (illegal migration, corruption, political attitudes)

Measuring hope

Measuring international mobility through where people log into commonly used websites

Trying to measure what workers actually do: the task approach to job content

Measuring entrepreneurship (Part I, Part II)

Misadventures in photographing impact

What are we learning from better measurement?

Are the Danes the happiest people in the world? Using vignettes to anchor subjective responses

The Hermeneutics of Satisfaction

Job satisfaction matters…and the measurement of job satisfaction matters

Measuring work

We talk a lot about empowerment, but how do we measure it?

What is the good life? Can we measure it?

You are in school. Or so you say…

Measuring consumption (through survey)

Measuring secrets

Measuring business practices in small firms

Measuring who in the household has the final say in decisions

What's new in measuring subjective expectations?

Skills and agricultural productivity

Building grit in the classroom and measuring changes in it

List experiments for sensitive questions -  a methods bleg

Odds are you are measuring son preference incorrectly

False positives in sensitive survey questions

How hard are they working?

What do we measure when we measure food consumption?

Pitfalls of patient satisfaction surveys and how to avoid them

Does It Matter Who Answers the Survey to Identify Families in Poverty?

The work of measuring work

Unpacking within household interactions: the roles people take

Sex, Lies, and Measurement: Do Indirect Response Survey Methods Work? (No…)

Taking Power

How to Implicit Association Test? 

Measuring how youth spend their time when schools are closed

Some things to think about when doing information experiments

Getting better information on property rights

Measuring fertilizer quality and measuring seed quality

Measuring agency: the quest continues

Microenterprise interventions: making it our business to know about businesses

Collecting good time use data with less cost and complexity

Time is money, but how much? Valuing time in self-employment

An easy to understand but distribution-sensitive welfare measure

Qualitative analysis with representative samples

Measuring socioemotional skills and emotion regulation in the field

Measuring harassment in the workplace


Survey design 

9 pages or 66 pages? Questionnaire design’s impact on poverty proxy measurement

Dialing for data: the story of a high-frequency phone survey in Liberia

Do you agree or disagree? How to ask the question

What is the right way to pick a respondent for a household survey?

Getting to better data: talking to strangers

Getting to better data: do men say yes more often than women?

Notes from the field: collecting gender-disaggregated data in practice

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

Paper or plastic (using CAPI) (Part I, Part II)

When to use insiders or outsiders as survey interviewers

Impacts of being interviewed on subsequent behavior

Calling it in: using phones for repeat surveys

Speak to the computer: the promise and challenges of measuring secrets through computer assisted interviews

Love and secrets

Notes from the field: October edition

Issues of data collection and measurement

Towards a survey methodology methodology

Electronic vs paper-based surveys: reviewing the debate

Dialing for data: enterprise edition

Is it possible to re-interview participants in a survey conducted by someone else?

If you pay your survey respondents, you might just get a different answer

Facility-based data collection -  a methods bleg

Tips for collecting surveys of hard to reach populations

We ran a video survey. Here's how it worked.

How does adding more questions affect the quality of survey answers?

How participating in a baseline may affect subsequent behavior



Using sending country surveys as a basis for sampling immigrants: a cautionary tale

Sampled social networks and household surveys


Survey checks and Data Accuracy

Checking survey quality with Benford’s law

Using Engel curves to detect underreporting of income among the self-employed

When bad people do good surveys

Surveying in Countries with Too Many Zeroes in their currency

Data corruption and mucked up stratification – problems and potential solutions

Getting to better data: who does the editing?

Economists have experiments figured out: what’s next? (hint it’s measurement) (on self-reporting)

Sifting through data to detect deliberate misreporting in pay-for-performance schemes

Notes from the field: making the most of monitoring data

Robustly wrong? New methods for cleaning survey data on incomes

Local expert opinion on prices is a good substitute for a full-fledged market price survey – since local prices are often missing this is great news

The data behind your data 


Managing Survey Teams and Doing Fieldwork

Insights from 15 years of fieldwork in Thailand

Notes from the field: setting up a firm survey in Malawi

Notes from the field: how to incentivize your survey team

Doing fieldwork in conflict-afflicted areas

Some advice from survey implementers (part 1, part 2)

Research with adolescents: issues surrounding consent


Reducing Attrition

Three strikes and they are out? Persistence and reducing panel attrition among firms

Help for attrition is only a phone call away: a new bounding approach

They can run, but can they hide? Tracking respondents in longitudinal surveys

Survey attrition and freudenschade

Dealing with attrition in field experiments

Reducing attrition in phone surveys

Attrition rates typically aren't that different for the control group than the treatment group


Cost Analysis

Why don't economists do cost analysis in their impact evaluations?

Capturing cost data: a first-mile problem


Using Photos

Beyond the trite "I was there" photo - using photos and videos to communicate your research


Administrative Data

Working with administrative tax data: A how-to-get-started guide


Remote Sensing

Improving the granularity of nightlights satellite data

Measuring yields from Space

Expanding the usability of remote sensing data in development

Unobserved errors in Earth Observation



Florence Kondylis

Research Manager, Lead Economist, Development Impact Evaluation

David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

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