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We are seeking papers for a session on “Survey research in developing countries” at the European Survey Association Conference (ESRA) 13th-17th July 2015 in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Session organisers

Evelyn Ersanilli (International Migration Institute, University of Oxford)

Irene Pavesi (Small Arms Survey)

Session abstract

This session explores the challenges involved in conducting survey research in developing countries and discusses best practices in sampling, questionnaire design and fieldwork organisation.

Research in developing countries poses a number of specific challenges:

  • Even more often than in developed countries up-to-date data on population size and composition is absent. Mobile populations, scarcely populated areas and areas connected only by low quality roads and security issues complicate the creation of a sampling frame. What strategies have researchers used to deal with these challenges?
  • Response rates tend to be high in developing countries. This is in part because in rural areas trust tends to be high or a survey is seen as an interesting break from everyday life. However in some cases the consent of village heads or other local leaders is an order to people to participate. How does this fit with the idea of informed consent?
  • High poverty in some areas raises ethical questions on whether and how respondents should be compensated for their time; if respondents receive cash or in kind compensation this can lead to competition among households for inclusion in the survey. What are appropriate ways to compensate respondents?
  • Large household with complex structures can make collection of household data a time consuming and error prone process. How can data be collected in an efficient way?
  • High ethnic and linguistic diversity poses challenges to both questionnaire translation and selection of interviewers. How can these challenges be dealt with?
  • If the people who design the questionnaire are from the same ethno-linguistic group as the target population, what procedures can be used to ensure that concepts in the survey resonate with the target population?

We welcome papers on these and related topics, such as reaching female respondents, use of ICT in data collection, surveying in (post-)conflict areas, and surveys among populations with high illiteracy rates

How to submit

  • Deadline for submission of abstracts: January 15, 2015
  • Deadline for submission of full papers: May 31, 2015

Abstracts should be submitted via the online submission system

Steps for submission of abstracts (NB abstracts you need to submit a 100 word abstract for the conference programme and 500 word abstract that will be used to determine whether you are invited to present):

  1. Create an ESRA account (on the submission website)
  2. Go to the submission website, log-on and click on ‘submit a paper’
  3. From “Please select the area of survey methodology for your paper submission (you must do this first): *” select the area “Special & hard-to-reach populations”
  4. From the list of workshops that appears tick the box in front of  “Survey research in developing countries” (4th from the top)

Applicants will be notified if their papers are accepted by February 28, 2015.

Applicants are expected to arrange for their own funding for conference participation.

The ESRA prize for the best paper submitted by an early-career researcher.

Researchers within two years of the completion of their doctorate, or within five years of starting a career in survey research, will be eligible to enter their paper for the ESRA Early-Career Researcher prize. The winning paper will be awarded a prize of 500 Euros. More information about the Early-Career Researcher award will be announced on the conference website in due course.

The SQP research paper award which includes a prize money of €1,000 will be announced at the conference. The award is given for the best paper describing an application or a methodological comment on the use of the Survey Quality Predictor (SQP). The papers should be sent to RECSM before the 1st of March 2015. For more detailed information about the requirements, quality criteria and evaluation process, please check the RECSM website: