After the KIIs in Chachoengsao, we thought that we could already start the surveys over there by 1 Dec. However we could not get confirmations with farmers and the questionnaires and notes had to be checked again with the just received final draft, i.e. with the last item allowed to be changed/added. As these documents need to be in Thai so they can be used in the field, it was necessary to really check them that what is meant in English is captured when translated into Thai. There are many things to be considered when trying to do this, and our team had gone through a process of translating it into Thai, then translating what was translated back into English, asking what they meant, how the RAs would ask the question, how the farmers would perceive them, what terms would a lay person use so questions could be easily understood, even going to search for popular terms being used by farmers and the media today.
Thus we had to follow all the time whenever there are changes in the English draft. The corresponding translation into Thai have to be done. We also showed these drafts to the social science, gender and economics experts in our team so they could also contribute and help out especially with the translation and the use of better terminologies.
So I think until last week there were still trickles of changes and additions to the questionnaire and the corresponding notes. So this week we are ready to print them out. We might need to add more sets to the picture cards if more teams will be formed. We are running out of time but what can we do? With all the delays, the earliest start of the survey is 11 Dec. That's almost 1 1/2 months late from the original target start date of 1 Nov. Having more people in the team may or may not help, because it all depends on farmer availability. We have the randomised list of respondents and we could not just interview anyone we meet along the way who has a farm. We are following the statistically derived list to maintain randomness and avoid biases. Although the other way could have made our lives easier. But we are researchers and our work should be robust statistically and based on the agreed methodology of the project.
As key informant interviews are an important part of the research process we are also spending considerable time on them. Next up will be the KI visits to Chantaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Suphanburi and Petchburi. We had done preliminary contacts with them by phone. For Surat Thani, due to distance and time constraint, we have conducted the KIIs by phone and email.