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Challenges of Data Collection in Africa 13 th PAMRO Conference Dakar, Senegal Prepared by Mluleki Ncube 23 August 2011 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Challenges of Data Collection in Africa 13 th PAMRO Conference Dakar, Senegal Prepared by Mluleki Ncube 23 August 2011 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Challenges of Data Collection in Africa 13 th PAMRO Conference Dakar, Senegal Prepared by Mluleki Ncube 23 August

2 Introduction There is a growing interest in doing business in Africa (emerging markets) from both local and international organisations. This has resulted in an increased need for research information in order to understand these emerging markets. HOWEVER: not all data collection techniques that are used in the developed economies are usable in non developed economies. This paper highlights the challenges of data collection in Africa and in certain instances some possible solutions. Highlighting these issues forms a platform for experience sharing and it is hoped that this information will assist in research planning 2

3 Sampling In a number of African Countries, there are no proper sample frames and this makes proper sampling difficult. To do a multi-stage area stratified probability sampling, one needs proper census data and in a number of countries censuses are not done regularly and therefore it is not easy to get reliable information to do this kind of sampling. It is however advisable in these circumstances for research organisation to rely on the information that is supplied by the central statistics office of that particular country for the sake of uniformity. 3

4 Face to Face Interviews (PAPI) This is the common type of interviewing technique in Africa. It is very expensive to print questionnaires in Angola for example. If you have a big sample size it is cheaper to courier questionnaires. 4

5 Sampling Cont…Maps Lack of maps to the lowest administrative unit. Use of land makes typically churches, hospitals, schools, etc to get a sampling point. 5

6 Face to Face Interviews (PAPI) Cont.. In most cases, these questionnaires are kept for some days if not weeks at the point of entry by the authorities. Some courier companies do not operate in certain countries and this means you have to start a new relationship with a new courier company and this causes unnecessary delays in sending and getting questionnaires back. In most cases you are forced to ship questionnaires back because there are no capturing facilities and the few that are available are always busy and the costs are unbearably very high. It is therefore advisable that proper lead times are taken cognisance of when planning a multi-country study. 6

7 Face to Face Interviews (CAPI) 7

8 This type of interviewing technique is not common in Africa because a number of data collection agencies do not have this facility. Besides this set up being expensive, a number of countries are still mainly rural and these rural areas do not have electricity for charging laptop batteries. Therefore if there is a global study, it is advisable for the client to take cognisance of the fact that in most African countries, this study might not be CAPI. 8

9 Telephone interviews (CATI) 9

10 This is also another interviewing technique which is not that much pronounced in Africa. South Africa and a few other countries have this facility but it is not advisable to recommend CATI for a multi-country study in Africa. Availability of categorised leads is also a challenge as they are often over-utilized and exhausted WAPI platforms seem to be taking over CATI and CAPI worldwide. However, this may prove to be a challenge in most African countries that dont have wireless broadband. In some instances the download and upload speed may be too slow to apply these techniques successfully 10

11 Online surveys This is currently a no go area if the results of the study are to be grossed up to the entire population. Very few people have access to computers and those who might want to access the survey via mobile phones have a limitation in that there is limited or no network at all in most rural areas and even in some towns. Maintaining a healthy and active online and CATI panel may prove to be a headache as there are a lot of challenges when it comes to incentivizing these panelists Transparent reporting by clients who host and administer their data storage servers 11

12 Network problems 12

13 Focus Group Discussions Widely done in Africa but under different conditions as most countries do not have proper focus group venues. Groups are done sometimes under trees, in community halls and in participants houses. These groups are however video and audio recorded. 13

14 Focus Group Discussions Cont.. 14

15 Quality Control This is very difficulty especially in cases where you have to ship the questionnaires to and from the country where the survey was done. If the interviews were conducted in the local language, you need to get someone who is eloquent in that language and has the required educational level to do quality control. You also need to train this individual/individuals. Back checking becomes very expensive because you are now dialling international numbers. This inevitably affects your costing. 15

16 Other Data Collection Challenges 16

17 Language Translation of a questionnaire into a number of languages. South Africa – translation into 4 languages Zambia – translation into 7 languages Kenya – translation into 8 languages 17

18 Wars and political factors Legislative frameworks that CATIs and PAPIs have to adhere to e.g. the Consumer Protection Act that has recently been introduced in South Africa and censorship in some African countries. All studies in some African countries need to be politically correct Freedom of speech and expression is limited Libya – South Africa Journalist short dead DRC Ivory cost Zimbabwe Angola Sudan/South Sudan Avoid by all means doing field work towards or during election time. 18

19 Religion and Culture The culture of participating in research in Africa is very low unless one incentivizes, making the studies expensive to conduct In some Muslin states; Cross gender FGDs not possible Female interviewers not readily available Difficulty to do fieldwork when Muslins are fasting Women need permission from men to participate in research husband sits with the wife as she is being interviewed 19

20 Women and children Female parent primarily takes care of children Most children do not go to pre-schools because parents cannot afford Children crowd the interviewing process and this is not appropriate for sensitive questions Interruptions – breastfeeding in focus group discussions, children crying, etc. 20

21 Accessibility 21

22 Accessibility Poor infrastructure hinders access of samples in remote areas Fieldwork may take longer time as accessing the target sample may take a long time. Changes in research instruments may take a while to trickle down to each field location Couriering of research material especially Angola. For example our 3 week struggle with customs,one week in Europe before they came to South Africa because there was no direct flight from Angola to South Africa at that time. 22

23 23 Thank You Physical Address: ProAsh House, 9 Phillips Street, Ferndale, Randburg, 2156 Postal Address: P. O. Box 1324, Randpark Ridge, 2156 Tel: +27 (11) /8 Fax: +27 (11) Send mail to: Or Check out our website

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