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Living Standards Measurement Study: Integrated Surveys on Agriculture: Tools

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Survey Methodology

A key objective of the LSMS-ISA project is the combination of household survey work with validation exercises that can provide valuable information on survey methodology to statistical agencies, researchers and other practitioners. The results of these exercises, as well as the testing of new questionnaire modules on issues ranging from fishery data to climate change, are published in sourcebooks for practitioners. Both researchers and policymakers benefit from new methods of improving the accuracy and timeliness of the data upon which future analyses and policies are based. The LSMS-ISA project is also committed to innovation in data collection, introducing Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) to its partner countries, and evaluating the various CAPI software packages available for use in the field.


LSMS-ISA: Sourcebooks

Measuring Conflict Exposure in Micro-Level Surveys

Violent conflict is a key obstacle to overall economic development and specifically to human development. Conflicts vary greatly in their nature – hence the impacts of conflicts on people also vary greatly. Socioeconomic research on conflict has demonstrated that the circumstances of conflict matter greatly for policies designed to end and overcome the legacies of conflict. Reconstruction policies in particular must build on local conflict legacies, taking into consideration how people were affected by war and violence. In essence, each person may experience a conflict differently, leading to different types of conflict exposure even within families or villages. This sourcebook aims to increase the capacity of researchers and policymakers to identify consistently, comparatively, and across time, the ways in which violent conflict affects individuals, households and communities along key social and economic dimensions.

  • Read the brief for this paper here.

LSMS-ISA: Sourcebooks

Design and Implementation of Fishery Modules in Integrated Household Surveys in Developing Countries

Fish and other aquatic animals contribute to the food security of citizens of developing countries, both as a source of income and as a component of healthy diets, yet fishing is not currently captured in most integrated household surveys. This sourcebook provides essential technical guidance on the design of statistical modules and questionnaires aimed at collecting fishery data at the household level. Background on the main policies important to the fishery sector, information on the data needed to analyze issues of policy relevance, and methodology on the construction of survey questions to collect necessary data are also provided.

Download the sample modules for convenient questionnaire integration here:

LSMS-ISA: Sourcebooks

Agricultural Household Adaptation to Climate Change: Land Management & Investment

Climate change and food security are two of the most pressing challenges facing the global community today. Improvements in smallholder agricultural systems have the potential to address both, via increases in income in conjunction with mitigation of the adverse effects of climate change. This guidance note on adaptation focuses on improving household survey instruments for understanding agricultural household adaptation responses to climate change with regards to land management and investment options.

Download the sample modules for convenient questionnaire integration here.

LSMS-ISA: Sourcebooks

Agricultural Household Adaptation to Climate Change: Water Stress & Variability

Global climate change poses a serious threat to food security, particularly among populations in low-income countries. Effective adaptation in the agricultural sector is increasingly recognized as a critical policy component for reducing vulnerability and mitigating adverse climatic impacts. This guidance note on adaptation focuses on improving household survey instruments for understanding agricultural household adaptation responses to weather variability, as well as for measuring local water resources, including rainfall, surface water, and groundwater.

LSMS-ISA: Sourcebook

Comparative Assessment of Computer-Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) Software Packages

Written in partnership with the IRIS Center at the University of Maryland, this detailed report identifies, evaluates, and compares the functionalities of software packages for the development of CAPI applications suitable for implementing complex household surveys. The report is accompanied by the following documents:

LSMS-ISA: Sourcebook

Tracking in Longitudinal Household Surveys

Sample attrition is one of the inherent challenges faced by any longitudinal household survey, and among surveys in developing countries, mobility accounts for much of this attrition. Tracking individuals and households can entail significant costs and may require specific focus by the organization conducting the survey. Drawing from experiences from previous and ongoing surveys, this paper presents recommendations on methodology for successfully implementing tracking in panel household surveys.

  • Read the brief for this paper here.

CAPI Development and Implementation

While most household survey work has traditionally been done with paper-and-pen interviewing (PAPI), the use of computer-assisted personal interviewing technology during the process of data collection offers a number of significant advantages to its paper-and-pen alternative. With the advent of the affordable ultra mobile personal computer (UMPC), the benefits that CAPI offers for improving the quality and timeliness of survey data are numerous:

  • Interviewing and data entry are brought together so that full validation can take place during the interview;
  • Data from past interviews can be used in the current interview (e.g. pre-filling or feed-forward determining follow-up questions), for both panel surveys (with one visit per year) and for surveys which use multiple visits within the production period;
  • The computer can offer background processing of complicated aggregates (such as crop and livestock margins), which can be compared with physical and financial norms as part of a comprehensive data validation system;
  • Dynamic multi-language capabilities and the ability to enable/disable questions or modules depending on whether they are relevant to the survey are both supported; and
  • Automated data capture (such as GPS readings, sound recordings and digital photography) is made possible.

The LSMS-ISA project is therefore committed to increasing the accessibility of CAPI for its partner countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as for other interested practitioners and researchers involved in data collection efforts. To this effect:

  • The LSMS-ISA project, in partnership with the IRIS Center at the University of Maryland, has conducted a comparative assessment of the currently available CAPI software packages; the document, executive summary and appendices are freely available for download.
  • The LSMS-ISA team is supporting the development of a publicly available CAPI application to empower client countries to independently implement household surveys with CAPI technology. Developing a standardized software that can be independently configured for each country offers the advantages of lowering per unit costs via economies of scale as well as fostering the standardization of coding systems.
  • The LSMS-ISA team is introducing CAPI to those of its partner countries that have already successfully implemented decentralized data entry. The second round of data collection for the Uganda National Panel Survey 2010/11 took place fully via a CAPI application operated on UMPCs, and a partial CAPI framework is being implemented by the Ethiopia Central Statistical Agency for its 2011/2012 Ethiopia Rural Socioeconomic Survey.

Analytical Tools


PovcalNet is an interactive computational tool that replicates the calculations made by World Bank researchers in estimating the extent of absolute poverty worldwide. PovcalNet also allows for calculations of poverty measures under various assumptions as well as the assembly of estimates using alternative country groupings. The tool is self-contained and features reliable software that quickly computes the relevant calculations from its in-built database.


ADePT is a software platform for automated economic analysis, developed to automate and standardize the production of analytical reports. ADePT uses micro-level data from various types of surveys, such as Household Budget Surveys, Demographic and Health Surveys and Labor Force surveys to produce rich sets of tables and graphs for a particular area of economic research, dramatically reducing the time required for the production of analytical reports.

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