Development that Works
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    This blog highlights effective ideas in the fight against poverty and exclusion, and analyzes the impact of development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Total quality: total!



    survey for an impact evaluationDo you want to set up a survey for an impact evaluation?

    Imagine you are in front of a four piece jigsaw puzzle that has to fit perfectly (sounds easy): 1) sampling, 2) instruments, 3) data management and 4) Field work.

    This is how, in the very first session on surveys and sampling of the Taller Internacional de Encuestas y Evaluación de Políticas Públicas, Juan Munoz, a founder of Sistemas Integrales, presented very intuitively the total quality concept as it applies to surveys, integrating these four pieces in order to have a reliable and decent data base.

    The keys to total quality:

    Apart from the logistical details involved in the preparation of a survey, Juan shared a couple of suggestions:

    • Choose a firm, with clear terms of reference
    • Acknowledge that sampling errors are as serious as non sampling errors
    • Make sure field personnel are self sufficient
    • Collect data, be realistic
    • Assure permanent data quality by integrating quality control into data collection

    Not integrating means:

    • The long and winding road to “data cleaning” is unavoidable and data might no longer be relevant for decision making
    • Data quality is not assured. “Cleaning” might lead to, in the best case scenario, to a data base that is internally consistent, but does not reflect reality
    • The “cleaning” implies a miriad of decisions, which are generally not documented and users might not trust the data. A problem.

    And finally, he explained the benefits of integration

    • Reliable and timely data bases
    • Constant field monitoring
    • All field personnel applies consistent criteria in data collection
    • Inconsistencies are resolved at the field, and not on assumptions
    • Total quality control

    In the second week, participants will field surveys, and see if Juan’s ideas work.

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