WHAT ARE WE DOING?
SLRC have just implemented a unique, cross-country panel survey in six conflict-affected countries, with the aim of generating longitudinal quantitative data on people’s livelihoods, their access to and experience of basic services, and their views of governance actors. In short, the survey will tell us about how the livelihoods and governance perceptions of people shift (or not) over time, and help us understand which factors are most important in determining change.
We have completed the first wave in DRC, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Uganda. A trimmed down variant of the survey was also delivered in South Sudan last year as part of a broader FAO survey and in Afghanistan we are delivering a third round of the AREU livelihoods panel in 2013. SLRC will attempt to re-interview the same households in 2015-2016, using a number of methods to overcome problems associated with attrition (such as using GPS to record coordinates of each individual interview site). In all but Afghanistan and South Sudan, sample sizes are statistically significant at between 1,200 and 3,000 households, are representative at study and village levels, and have a confidence level of 0.05. This is in spite of the challenges associated with survey research in these countries.
WHAT HAS THE PROCESS INVOLVED?
The survey instruments for each country emerged out of a rigorous design process. In June 2012, SLRC hosted a two-day workshop attended by selected individuals with particular experience and expertise in survey design and implementation, including staff from the Asia Foundation, FAO, Robert Muggah from the Igarape Institute in Brazil, as well as a number of internal SLRC partners. The aims of the workshop were: to help establish the specific objectives of the survey; to decide what type of survey methodology would be most appropriate / produce the most added value; and to address a number of ‘design puzzles’ previously identified. Design puzzles included: longitudinal panel or cross-sectional; feasibility of combining livelihoods and perceptions in a single survey (where the former has households as the unit of analysis and the latter individuals); sampling for maximum research uptake; and the feasibility of generating cross-country findings. The outputs and outcomes of the workshop fed into a subsequent design phase which saw the production of a draft generic survey instrument composed of around 10 individual modules. The next stage involved tailoring the generic instrument to country contexts, and so began an iterative process lasting several weeks involving much discussion, planning and negotiation with the various country partners. Content and sampling issues were both discussed in great detail. All partners were required to pilot the survey to with about 50 households and revise their instruments in light of both their experiences in the field and analysis of their results. With finalised instruments – which typically feature a tailored component of around 25% and a cross-country, comparable component of 75% – enumeration began, usually lasting between 4 – 6 weeks.
SLRC have just published the country baseline survey reports and will be writing a synthesis of the country reports (all of which are being published as individual working papers), and, in an effort to stimulate learning more broadly, a ‘process paper’ involving reflections on the method, design and implementation of the surveys in conflict-affected situations.