Quarterly Economic Survey

Report
Introduction of Internet Survey Methodology
to the Emirate of Abu Dhabi
Andrew Ward, Maitha Al Junaibi and Dragica Sarich
Overview
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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
Conclusion
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
Emirate
 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
questionnaire
 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:
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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
Dhabi
• 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
SCAD
 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
facsimile
 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
hours
 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
advance
Conclusion
 Adding the web as a mode of data collection has
numerous benefits, both for SCAD and for
establishments
 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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