Published on Development Impact

Weekly links May 8: Survey methods galore (SMS, ACASI, phone), how to deal with interruptions in field research, a new virtual seminar series and more…

This page in:

·       Getting the most out of SMS surveys on the Busara blog: they run an experiment on a low-income sample in Kenya to learn about how to improve response rates and data quality. Their bottom line: “Expect a completion rate of ~20% for SMS surveys with a low-income urban sample unaccustomed to SMS surveys. 30% if you do everything right” – these seem surprisingly high to me, and likely to vary by context – the study is on a sample pool of respondents that the organization had already enrolled and screened (so they had provided contact numbers and opted into being considered for studies, but had not much SMS survey experience – a big problem is often also that phone numbers are no longer valid/work, but this doesn’t seem much of an issue here). “Small incentives for completing surveys (as low as $0.25) increase your completion rate by ~5–6 pp”. They also note that there are order effects, so you should randomize the order of questions if possible; and that there are big differences in response rates by gender, age, and education: males, younger, and more educated people are more likely to respond.

·       Claire Cullen and Mahreen Mahmud share lessons for Oxford’s Mind & Behavior Research Group on using audio computer-assisted self-interviewing (ACASI) to survey on sensitive topics. IPA has a related blog by Elizabeth Dartnall and Ellen Bates-Jeffreys on considerations for doing IPV research during the time of Coronavirus.

·       In this YouTube video, Marcel Fafchamps, Saad Gulzar, and Meredith Startz share how they have dealt with interruptions when conducting in the field research and strategies for dealing disruptions caused by COVID-19. In particular, they discuss what to do if you are a PhD student facing this issue.

·       On VoxDev, Gharad Bryan and Melanie Morten summarize their work on internal barriers to migration and productivity gains in Indonesia.

·       speccurve – a new Stata program by Martin Andresen to plot specification curves, another example is here.

·       A new virtual seminar series in development economics, starting this coming Tuesday with Seema Jayachandran as speaker.


David McKenzie

Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

Join the Conversation

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly
Remaining characters: 1000