Do MICS surveys collect and/or release GIS data?
In the sixth round of MICS, countries have the option to collect GIS data on the location of survey clusters where interviews take place. Even if countries do not collect such data in a MICS survey, such data are usually available from the majority of national statistical offices which usually have digitized maps of cluster locations through their census cartography. The MICS Programme therefore advises researchers interested in spatial analysis to contact the individual statistical offices or other implementing agencies with requests. Contact details are typically in final reports and with the final datasets. One needs the “key” that matches the cluster numbers in the datasets with the enumeration areas in the Census maps. Additionally, one must be granted access to Census maps and, for any map presentation, must incorporate a random offset of the cluster location. .
Does MICS collect data only on children under 5 years of age?
MICS collects data on all children of all ages that live in households. MICS uses several questionnaires to collect these data. Data for children under age 5 years are collected in a separate questionnaire where data are provided by mothers (and in the case of children whose mothers are deceased or who live in a different household to the child, a caregiver). In addition to the questionnaire for children under five, MICS also collects data on children age five to seventeen through use of a questionnaire introduced in MICS6. Such data were typically collected in previous rounds using the household questionnaire (e.g. for education, child labour and child discipline). Retrospective data on women and men during their adolescents are also collected through the individual questionnaires for women and men age 15-49 for topics such as early marriage and child bearing.
How long does MICS fieldwork typically last?
This depends on the sample size of each survey, as well as the number of fieldworkers and the number of households that are completed per day. On average, fieldwork is completed in 2 to 4 months in most MICS surveys.
What measures does MICS take to ensure the data are collected accurately?
The data collection teams include a supervisor, a measurer, and varying numbers of female and male interviewers depending on the overall workload. No interviewer can collect any information alone i.e. they must all go as a team to collect data with the supervisor checking the map to ensure they are approaching the correctly selected household. The information from the individual questionnaire is also cross referenced to other questionnaires completed in that household for accuracy.
The field supervisors monitor the survey teams during the entire fieldwork process and observe interviews to ensure the MICS guidelines are followed. Also, supervisors are expected to do at least one spot check on households to verify the completed questionnaires and ensure that correct information is recorded. For a small proportion of households, the supervisor is expected to re-interview them on a limited question set to corroborate that an accurate interview has occurred.
Further, data are entered during fieldwork onto tablets (Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing, CAPI). The use of CAPI also improves data collection as the data can be checked for consistency as it is being entered and corrected immediately. Many countries in MICS6 are using capitalizing on the continuous data flow from tablets to a cloud server for storage by producing visual checks of the data which can flag key issues on team performance. This can be fed back immediately to the field and corrective action can be taken while the survey is ongoing.
How does MICS deal with refusals?
If an interview is refused in a selected household, the supervisor of the team is responsible for returning to that household to explain the importance of the survey and to encourage the respondent to participate. If the household still refuses to be interviewed, the result of the household interview is marked as ‘refused’ and the field teams cannot replace this household with another. In other words, MICS does not allow replacement in such cases. Ultimately, such households are accounted as non-response during sample weight calculations.
How does MICS deal with unoccupied households?
If a selected household is not occupied during the fieldwork team’s visit, the interviewer is responsible for returning to this household at least two more times. After repeated visits if there is still no one available, the result of the household interview is marked accordingly and the field teams cannot replace this household with another. In other words, MICS does not allow replacement of the selected households even if there is no respondent at home during the times the household is visited.
In some cultures, it would be impossible to ask some of the questions to women who have never married. How do you deal with this problem?
This is correct – in some countries, mainly in the Middle Eastern region, some topics/questions are socially or culturally unacceptable. In such countries, the MICS approach is to skip a small number of modules in the questionnaires customized for that country so that topics/questions pertaining to subjects such as sexual behaviour, fertility and contraceptive use are not discussed with women who have never married. In very few countries, this issue has been resolved by confining the Individual Women’s Questionnaires to ever married women only. However, MICS does not recommend this.