Data collection to resume as early as possible
How the coronavirus pandemic develops in the year ahead is impossible to say. We will assess the feasibility of fieldwork on a case-by-case basis and begin, where it is possible, to resume data collection from October onwards.
In February and March of this year, MIGNEX researchers carried out initial fieldwork in four countries, hoping to do the main project-wide fieldwork from June to December 2020. The coronavirus pandemic halted those plans, initially pushing the starting date ahead by several months.
Now that we consider how to resume data collection, several dilemmas arise. Adaptations that could enable an earlier start – for instance, phone interviews – can also jeopardize data quality. For the time being, we will keep changes to methodology and division of labour to a minimum.
Some parts of the data collection do not require international travelling and will presumably be the first to begin. We hope that survey data collection in Ghana can start in early October, depending on the COVID-19 situation in Ghana at that time. The corresponding work in Pakistan and Turkey could also start without a resumption of international travelling.
Data collection for the country-level policy reviews can start from 1 October in the form of desk research and remote interviews. However, there are limits to what is possible to do remotely. We will assess on a case-by-case basis how the remaining work with policy experts can best be carried out.
The initial fieldwork in February and March was followed by extensive work to refine the methodology, as planned in the original schedule. Now that fieldwork was postponed, we made use of the delay to invest even more in detailed planning. Three handbook chapters on data collection, totalling almost 300 pages, have now been published on the MIGNEX website (see: handbook chapters 6: QCA conditions and measurement, 7: Survey data collection and 8: Qualitative data collection).
Our data will cover diverse situations in terms of exposure to the pandemic and the measures to contain it. In the survey instrument, we have therefore included a number of questions that will allow us to take this into account in the analyses.