Niga Abdalla, a PhD candidate from our team, shares her experience of data collection from the survey she conducted between May and June 2021 in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. What were the difficulties and the lessons she learned from her survey? Here she explains:
“The overall objective of the study is to document the status of household food security in the study area and to determine the effect of socio-economic and demographic characteristics, conflict, and social safety nets on households food security. The data was collected in Sulaymaniyah Province in the eastern part of Iraqi Kurdistan, which has a population of 2.1 million and an area of 20,143 km2. In the end, 394 households have been interviewed in both the highlands and the lowlands including their rural and urban areas during May and June 2021. A
During the process, we experienced difficulties, positive experiences, and lessons learned.
Examples of the difficulties were (1) Bad transportation quality. (2) Inability to follow the systematic selection of the households in some places, this is due to factors such as the limited number of households, skipping household because of no response; refusing to participate; not the availability of the head of the household or an alternative person to be asked. (3) Manipulation by the respondents. (4) Security problems. (5) Lack of internet and local communication network in some rural areas.
Examples of lessons we learned are: (1) You cannot always depend on the theoretical background, but practical experiences will clarify the situation. (2) Even a pre-test of the questionnaire may not be enough, and you may need to modify the questionnaire after conducting a number of interviews. (3) You may need more time and resources than you expect. (4) It is always a good idea to have some small gifts with you. (5) It is better to create contact with some leaders or security in the areas before going for the data collection and having an allowance paper from your institution as well can help.
Examples of positive experiences are: (1) Team working. (2) Gaining knowledge about the geographical map of the areas. (3) Interaction with the livelihood in the different places. (4) Learning new things in terms of culture, food, and new linguistic terms. (5) Hospitality of the respondents especially in the rural areas, in most of the cases offering drinks, food and housing.
The overall experience was very rewarding, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the team that helped with data collection, and the households who participated in the survey."
Here you can watch a video from Niga’s survey. Enjoy!