COVID-19 High-Frequency LATAM Surveys
Country: 13 countries in Latin America
Subject: Living Conditions and Poverty / Health
Client: World Bank
With the COVID-19 pandemic characterized by deep uncertainty from the very beginning, governments faced great pressure to enact policies for mitigating the socioeconomic impacts of the crisis on households. These effects include growing unemployment and underemployment, a drop in labor and non-labor income, increasing prices and long-term human capital losses.
In this context, the World Bank decided to implement a high-frequency phone survey to monitor the potential negative effects of COVID-19 on households in order to provide governments with real-time data to support evidence-based responses to the crisis.
The survey was conducted in thirteen Latin American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru. Data collection featured three waves between May and August 2020, with collection periods lasting about ten days per wave on average. The survey interviewed one adult per household and asked both individual and household-level questions.
Each country’s sample was generated through an RDD process (random digit dialing), thus covering all possible phone numbers under the national phone numbering plan. Furthermore, given pandemic-related restrictions on mobility and assembly, survey operations had to comply with the following procedures:
- Interviewers worked from home as call centers could not be used
- Training of interviewers had to be carried out remotely
- Supervision and tracking of fieldwork was done remotely
Sistemas Integrales was involved over the full survey cycle in all thirteen countries and was in charge of the sampling design, questionnaire design, interviewer training, data management and quality control. Highlights of technical features included:
- Each country’s sample was based on a dual frame of cell phone and landline numbers generated through an RDD process, which produces all possible phone numbers in a country and draws a random sample. This way, the methodology ensured coverage of all landlines and cell phones active at the time of the survey.
- Interviewer training was done online using innovative techniques for teaching and practicing and applying stringent interviewer selection criteria.
- Field implementation was supported by TELSIA (Telephone Survey Integrated App), an all-in-one application developed by Sistemas Integrales for phone surveys that interviewers can use either from home or in a central location, with laptops, tablets or cell phones. TELSIA was used to manage the electronic questionnaires, administer the sample and calls automatically, monitor compliance with rigorous calling protocols and perform ongoing online supervision.
- Sistemas Integrales developed an online quality control dashboard to monitor a set of survey-specific quality indicators based on data and paradata. This permitted identifying different types of nonsampling errors and interviewer effects rapidly, in order to act accordingly. The online dashboard was updated daily and was accessible to the World Bank team on an ongoing basis over the entire field period.
- Randomized Audio Supervision (RAS), an auditing application developed by Sistemas Integrales, was used for audio supervision. Random parts of 100% of interviews were recorded and assessed by trained auditors to assure the accuracy of the data registered by the interviewers and compliance with protocols.
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