Saturday, November 27, 2010

Key informant interviews

Bangpakong River
Last 25-26 November our team went to Chachoengsao to conduct key information interviews in the three subdistricts which were randomly chosen as clusters for our survey. The objectives of the KIIs were:

1. to obtain information on the shrimp farming profile of the area, esp according to the scales drawn up by SEAT (business ownership, labour relations, management, no. of ponds)
2. to match the randomly selected farms (which only have the following info: location at subdistrict level, no. of ponds, total area and the like) with the existing farms in the area (to know farmer names and contact info)
3. to obtain names and contact info of shrimp farmers in the area if they could not be matched with the list in #2

There were 9 of us and we divided ourselves into 3 teams. Each team was assigned a subdistrict to visit. A couple of days before going the field, we contacted the KIs especially the fisheries officers and the heads of the subdistricts to make appointments with them. Thus on Thursday, we went to our respective subdistricts to meet with the KIs.
With the kamnan of the subdistrict
Our team went to the Provincial Fisheries Office but unfortunately they could not give us the list of farmer names as per regulation regarding confidentiality. The KI there gave us several pointers on what to consider when conducting a survey. He then directed us to the District Fisheries Office (next door), but he was also not sure if we can get information from there. The DFO was in a meeting but fortunately the meeting was over when we passed by the city hall and so we were able to meet him, and obtained some valuable information. He was also so kind to drive us to our next appointment (with the Subdistrict Office staff), which was in the subdistrict itself, about 15 km from the city center. We appreciated his kindness as there were no public transport available going to that place.
With the subdistrict office staff
The Subdistrict Office staff was so helpful as well. We spent the whole afternoon in her office. For the subdistrict, we were able to match the randomised list with farmer names available in the office. However according to the KI, those selected under medium scale are not hiring any labour so we have to consider them now as small scale. We then asked the KI to tell us which of the farms in the area are hiring labour and she came up with 19 farms. She said farms with more than 10 ponds will usually hire workers, while those with less than 10 ponds can manage the farm by themselves. We will randomize the new lists to come up with names to be interviewed.

After the visit, we were wondering how we could get back to town. Fortunately another staff was driving to town to pick up his daughter from school which is near our hotel. So we hitched a ride with him and he dropped us off our hotel. We are thankful to the kindness of strangers.

The other two teams were not able to match their lists so they asked the KIs and went to the village heads to ask about the farms and move around the villages to come up with new lists. These will be subjected again to randomization to come up with the list of farmers to be interviewed.

While in town, we also were able to look around for another hotel where we would stay during the survey itself. We also asked around for information on local transport to be used during the survey, which we target to start on 1 Dec.

Monday, November 22, 2010

update 6-21 nov 2010

Our team had been busy with the survey preparation and instruments, specifically on:

1. understanding the questions more
2. deliberating on the correct terms from English to Thai as well as the approaches in asking questions so that they will be understood by our respondents; one of the experts commented that it seems the survey is for foreign farmers not Thai farmers with the questions being asked
3. going through the survey notes, again and again and ... also translating the codes esp.
4. refining sample design and randomization of samples from tambon to farms
5. conducting key informant interviews on the selected tambons to get an overview of the area in relation to our survey (esp regarding farm scales as per SEAT definition)
6. generating randomized farmer lists for shrimp and referring them to respective KIs
7. meetings (face to face, virtual by skype)
8. continuous training of field staff, soon and very soon they will be masters of this (hope hope)
9. we have also been busy getting confused with some issues related to the above
10. still waiting for the ACCESS database file so concerned staff can start getting familiar with it
11. this am finally received the final draft of the questionnaire and notes ... ooooppppss hold it ... tonight when I opened my email, some additional stuff on the final draft due to comments from another country when is the final final really? will there be more once the other teams get to read the final draft?(how can it be final when it is still a draft?)

I think this me blog here will suffice for updates about our work here.

Friday, November 5, 2010

SEAT-KU this week

I missed to blog about SEAT-KU activities in October. It just shows that we have been so busy working on project activities including staff recruitment, which took a lot of our time. Now it is November. And this week, 1-5 Nov have also been hectic. In fact the week is not finished yet because we are still gonna work  tomorrow, Saturday. And Sunday even if there are still things we need to do. This week the team from U of Stirling and the WP8 Coordinator from U of Bergen are here with us. We are still at the stage of preparing for the baseline survey which should have started on 3rd Nov. However since the survey instruments were not finalised yet, we could not start the survey. The schedule for this week looked like this:

1 Nov - meeting at KU-Fish among UoS (Francis, Lynn, Lynne, Richard), UiB (Matthias) and KU teams regarding latest draft of questionnaire and survey notes, introduction of team members, preparation of picture cards on values and of common tilapia and shrimp diseases in Thailand. Before the European team arrived in the morning, the Thai team had a meeting together with our faculty experts in Social Science, Gender and Economics. The major thing we talked about was the type of pictures to use for the values question. The experts helped a lot in giving inputs and ideas so the staff can work on them as we only had 1 day to prepare. Two staff were assigned to work on them and show the results in the afternoon. Also we discussed about the diseases picture cards. Again another 2 staff were assigned to work on them, summarizing the info and scanning the pictures from posters and books, to be presented in the afternoon.

It was a heavy day of discussions about the survey, questionnaire and codings. The meeting finished late and we still had to rush for the printing of materials. It is good that we know of a big printing shop at Future Park which closes at 9pm. So it was nearly 630 pm when we finally had all the files to be printed - draft 6 of questionnaires and survey notes, and the powerpoint files of the pictures. These materials would be used for the following day's piloting work among tilapia farmers. There were 14 of us for piloting so we made 14 sets of questionnaires and survey notes. For the pictures, 4 sets of coloured pictures were printed to be used by 4 teams. So one can imagine how much paper was used to print them all, and to think they are just drafts. Well as a consolation we can use the back side for another printing. We reached the shop at around 730pm and thankfully we were able to print them all ...

2 Nov - we went to Chachoengsao to pilot test the questionnaire among tilapia farmers. Three farmers were interviewed. One group took a long time to finish and by the time we left the area it was already past 4pm. We arrived back to KU at nearly 7pm.

3 Nov - at the office to discuss piloting results, observations and suggestions to improve the questionnaire and notes. Another long day of meetings. Added more pictures for the production system question. Again we had to wait for the revised survey draft and the production system questions to be finished, and as the other day, rushed down to the mall to print a new set of revised questionnaires and the pictures to be used the following day for piloting of shrimp farms.

4 Nov - we went to Chachoengsao to pilot test the questionnaire among shrimp farmers. Four farmers were interviewed.  This time we were better at time management. We left earlier than the other day and arrived back at KU at around 6pm. Jesper from UCPH and Dr Kulapa from Fac of Econ-KU joined today.

5 Nov - at the office to discuss piloting results and more suggestions to improve the questionnaire and notes, and additional codings. As well, we talked about the Access database which is being developed by UoS team. We will use this to enter all the data collected from the field.

Sample frame, design, sizes and related topics will be discussed tomorrow, Saturday, including the codes/notes and finalisation of questionnaire (hope hope hope!). We hope to be able to finalise this part so we can start to verify our information and know who to interview during the actual surveys. As it stands, our survey schedule has been pushed to 2 weeks later. Maybe more if more things need to be done prior to survey.