What recent work has been done on assessing the quality and limitations of using perception surveys in fragile and conflict affected states?
The key strengths of using perception surveys in FCAS include: measuring the intangible; a form of citizen-state communication; rebalancing information asymmetries; challenging un-evidenced stereotypes; quick, cost-effective and extensive data gathering method; focussing on citizen opinion, rather than expert opinion; and the monitoring of state-society relations over time.
The key limitations of using perception surveys in FCAS include: the reliability of the data; representativeness (especially in relation to accessibility, gender inequality and representation); interpreting the complexity of findings; different types of biases; understanding that perception surveys measure perceptions only; and accountability.
The key methodological issues to consider to ensure quality of perception surveys in FCAS include: triangulation of data; timing; sequencing and phrasing of questions; in-country analysis; longitudinal analysis; stakeholder views of survey instruments in the design period; pilot tests; and practical quality checks.
Herbert, S. Perception surveys in fragile and conflict affected states (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 910). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2013) 10 pp.