Field Work (including recruitment, training of interviewers)

We can do the field work for you including recruitment and training of interviewers/enumerators. Surveys provide an important source of basic scientific knowledge and a speedy and economical means for determining facts about our knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, expectations and behaviours. A survey is a formal procedure by which information is obtained. Survey research is free from the personal bias of a researcher and client or reader; it provides data, which is more reliable, credible and objective than personal assumptions and prejudices. Data are collected by means of standardized procedures so that every individual is asked the same question in more or less the same way. The intention of a survey is not to describe the particular individuals who, by chance, happen to be part of the sample but to obtain a composite profile of the population.
When the survey design is decided upon, the first step would be to lay out the objectives of the investigation. The objectives should be as specific, clear-cut, and unambiguous as possible simply because they guide not only the process of questionnaire design, but also the entire research process. Using the personal (or face-to-face) interview mode of data collection can increase cooperation rates because the presence of an interviewer makes it possible for respondents to get immediate clarifications of the questions. The main requirement for a good interview is an ability of an interviewer to approach strangers in person or on the telephone and persuade them to participate in the survey. Once cooperation is acquired, the interviewer must maintain it while collecting the needed data according to the provided instructions. For high quality data to be collected, interviewers must be carefully trained through classroom instructions, self-study or both. Interviewers are trained, for example:
  • how to make initial contacts
  • how to conduct an interview in a professional manner, and
  • how to avoid influencing or biasing responses.
Interviewers generally need hands-on training to be familiar with the variety of situations they are likely to encounter in the field. The training also involves going over survey concepts, definitions and procedures. A question – by- question approach is needed to be sure that the interviewer can deal with any misunderstandings that may arise.
To prepare for field work,
  • Survey materials are prepared and issued to interviewers.
  • For traditional paper – and – pencil personal interviews, the interviewers should be given ample copies of the questionnaire, plus a reference manual.
  • Information about the identification and location of the households and any cards or pictures to be shown to the respondents must also be given to them.
  • Before conducting the interview, a letter (i.e. covering letter) is sent to the sample respondents explaining the purpose of the survey and informing the respondents that an interviewer will be calling soon.
  • Visits are scheduled with considerations of the best time and the day to call or visit, and allowance is made for repeated attempts (i.e. callbacks) in not at home situations.
Pretesting of the questionnaire and field procedures is necessary to find out if everything is okay in order to avoid potential misunderstandings or biasing effects of different questions and procedures. Small scale pilot studies are done to test the feasibility of the individual techniques (if new) and/or to perfect the questionnaire concepts and wording.
 Quality of survey
The quality of a survey depends largely on its purpose and the way it is conducted. Surveys should be carried out solely to develop statistical information about a subject not to produce predetermined results. Controlling the quality of the fieldwork can be done in several ways, for example, through: Observation or redoing a small sample of interviews by supervisory or senior personnel. At least some questionnaires can be checked while the survey is being carried out. This is essential if omissions or other obvious mistakes in the data are to be uncovered before it is too late to fix them. Every facet of a survey must be looked at during implementation; for example, the supervisor should re-examine the sample, re-do some interviews, assess the editing and coding of the responses. Without proper checking, errors may go undetected. Recruiting and training of interviewers is crucial to conducting a quality survey.
Strategies to deal with survey problems
These include:
  • preventing the problem
  • Adjusting the survey data to compensate for biasedness
  • Measuring any remaining effect of the problem.
All the three strategies should, at least, be considered in planning the best survey. Remedies include increasing the sample size particularly for the most important and heterogeneous segments of the population. In many instances, a stratified sample is used.
Follow-ups of non-respondents are normally done to increase the response rate. Low initial response rate (say of 50%) is not uncommon. Interviewers sometimes return to sampled households where no one was home (perhaps at a different time or on a weekend) in order to attempt to persuade persons who are inclined to refuse, to participate in the survey. For the mail survey, it is necessary to conduct several follow-up mailings, spaced, possibly, about 3 weeks apart. Depending on the circumstances, it may be necessary to conduct a sub sample survey of the remaining non-respondents by telephone or persona
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