Quarterly Economic Survey

Introduction of Internet Survey Methodology
to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi
Andrew Ward, Maitha Al Junaibi and Dragica Sarich
About SCAD
History of establishment surveys at SCAD
Forming the Survey Centre
Internet survey capabilities
Implementation for Economic Surveys
Issues of non-response
Advantages and challenges
Lessons learned
About SCAD
 Established in 2008
 Only official authority for collection, preparation,
compilation and dissemination of statistics for Emirate
of Abu Dhabi
 Responsible for conducting population censuses along
with economic, social and environmental surveys
SCAD’s aims:
 Develop and organize a statistical system in the
 Provide relevant and reliable official statistics serving
policy makers, the business community and the public
Establishment surveys at SCAD
Previous approach to data collection:
 Enumerators visit sample establishments and leave
 Enumerators may also help the establishments
complete the form
 Enumerators return the forms to SCAD
 Forms are checked by manually by field supervisors
and by subject matter experts
Establishment surveys at SCAD (cont’d)
Previous approach to data collection:
 If errors or omissions are detected, form is returned to
business to be fixed
 Text responses to questions are coded into categories
by a team of coders
 Data entry operators key questionnaires using in-house
data entry program with many validation rules
Establishment surveys at SCAD (cont’d)
Issues with:
Overly long collection periods
High resource costs
Respondent burden
Reduced time for analysis
Publication delays
Excerpt from paper form
Forming the Survey Centre
 Intensive program of establishment surveys in 2011
 Run at the same time as Abu Dhabi Census
 SCAD had to revise its approach to ensure quality,
timeliness and cost objectives were met
 Formed a Survey Centre for Establishment Surveys to
focus on suite of economic surveys:
• Dedicated resources and review of design and
implementation of establishment surveys
• Modernise and streamline approach to meet publication
targets for economic indicators.
Internet survey capabilities
 Key aspect of re-design was introduction of
Internet as a mode of data collection:
• Modern telecommunications infrastructure in Abu
• High uptake of technology by the population
• High level of Internet usage
 Web collection seen as viable additional mode for
establishment surveys
Internet survey capabilities (cont’d)
 Purchased Sawtooth software for mixed-mode surveys:
• WinCati - sample management, call scheduling, quota control,
disposition monitoring
• Sensus Web - database for creating and managing sample,
email system for composing and releasing survey invitations
and reminders, data entry
• WinCati Mixed Mode - integrated Web/CATI surveys with one
questionnaire, single sample database automatically
coordinating respondent participation
 Dedicated server
 Workstations for developers, analysts, interviewers
 Training for all Survey Centre staff
Other design changes
 Review of questionnaires to reduce number and
complexity of items
 Revised sample design to reduce sample size
 Use of GSBPM to maintain comprehensive project
management throughout entire process
 Software used for validity checks in place of teams
of auditors
Implementation for Economic Surveys
 Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) was first
quarterly business survey to be carried out by
 Pilot sought information from establishments
about business activities for Q4 of 2010 and Q1-Q2
of 2011
 Dispatched to a purposive sample of
establishments (n=495) on 2 September 2011
 Remained in field for a period of two months until
2 November 2011
 Data ultimately collected through web, telephone,
email, mail, facsimile and field visits
 Final achieved response rate was 67.3%
Example of web questionnaire
Issues of survey non-response
Strategies implemented:
 Calling the headquarters of a business if branch was
not responding
 Sending a letter and questionnaire by mail and
 Complete form over telephone with establishment
 Dedicated helpline for questions / problems
 Field visits to key establishments
 Run awareness workshops with establishments
 Create online tutorials and demonstration videos
Benefits of adding Internet mode
 Enabling access to respondents who may not be
readily available by telephone during regular office
 Online surveys can decrease the collection period over
other modes
 Cost of collection is reduced
 Data provided in a well-designed web form is available
immediately without the need for data entry
Lessons learned
 The quality and extent of contact information is crucial
to the success of data collection
 Field follow-up of key, non-responding establishments
should form part of the multi-mode strategy
 Computer systems hosting the web survey must have
very high levels of stability and availability
 Interviewers must have sufficient training to use the
software and to answer respondent questions
 File systems storing respondent data need to be well
planned with access permissions determined in
 Adding the web as a mode of data collection has
numerous benefits, both for SCAD and for
 Benefits for SCAD:
• Potential for significant savings in surveys costs and in
time for publications
• Improved quality of data and outputs
• Continuous development of SCAD staff
 Benefits for establishments:
• Can choose the most convenient means of responding
• Rapidly available survey outputs give valuable and timely
information for business planning

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