What’s it like to prepare for a survey of 2,000 households in rural India? (Start with applying for funding, receiving it, and about a year of preparation work.)

Now, we’re in India with our field partner, TERI, preparing to launch the survey. TERI found and hired a team of enumerators, who will give the survey to the households. We initially hoped to hire a team of all female enumerators, since it will be easier for them to talk to the primary cooks in the household (and we want to ask the cooks lots of questions about stoves, cooking, health, etc.). However, it was pretty tough going. The women were trying hard, but we found many of them really struggled with understanding the survey. None of them have ever done survey work before, and I don’t think that any of them have ever held a job outside the home except for a few teachers.

One of our PI’s (who has run projects like this in dozens of countries) said that he’s never seen a group struggle so much. These women all have at least a high school diploma – but it was a bit heartbreaking to see how much they struggled.  


Due to these struggles, we had to let many of the team go, and we tried training a group of men. Educational and cultural disparities in India became sharply apparent – the men as a whole caught on more quickly, and are much more self-assured than the women. As one of our group commented – perhaps we should be doing work on female education in India rather than stoves :/ … there are so many worthy causes!


All of this took place in the TERI field office. With the AC going out many times throughout the day, outdoor temps above 115, and over 10 people in a small room, training was brutal at times!




After giving the women two rounds of written tests, and then men one round, we took the team to the field for three days of pre-testing. This was pretty intense – the survey is pretty long, since we planned to shorten it after learning what questions are the most important from pre-testing. The first surveys the team did took about two hours (and sometimes much longer). But after a few days, many could do them in an hour.

Coming up next, pictures of training in the field and an explanation of why I haven’t blogged more!

Alyssa included a picture of where we are in Uttar Pradesh, if you want to see approximately where we are (and check out the blog of one of my fellow field americans).

2 thoughts on “Training

  1. the stuff about the education differences is so interesting, sad, and mind-boggling. it goes to show how two people with similar intelligence can still learn differently if one is encouraged and given the right tools. good luck with the work!!!! HUGS

  2. Appreciate the link to the other blog and its photos of the area (piled dung blocks, animals, Effing Celsius Degrees).
    I was chilly last night.


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