APR Workshop 2010-M&E-TG4 key informant interviews


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APR Workshop 2010-M&E-TG4 key informant interviews

  1. 1. TECHNICAL GUIDELINES No4 Key informant interviews I - What is a key informant interview? • The term “Key Informant” refers to a person who can provide detailed information and opinions on a particular subject based on his/her knowledge of this particular issue. Example: If you need information on how project activities have influenced the use of water resources in the community, key informants could be the leaders of a Water Users’ Groups. • Key informants can be young or old, and from a variety of socio-economic or ethnic groups. • Key informant interviews are open-ended, semi-structured interviews. Every interview should have clear objectives in terms of what kind of information is needed and how this information will be used. • The output of a key informant interview is a textual description of a situation, guided by standard questions. II- When do I need to conduct key informants’ interviews? • Key informant interviews are tools that will help you develop an in-depth understanding on qualitative issues. • Often, key informant interviews are used to gather qualitative information that will be used to “triangulate”1 the findings of other types of evaluation methods. Example: If a recent survey showed that 80% of members or Farmers Groups are not satisfied with project services, you can organize key informant interviews to understand exactly what is wrong with project services. • While there are other qualitative evaluation tools (e.g. Focus Group Discussions), key informant interviews are best used if you think that some type of information can only be obtained in a context of full confidentiality. Example: In order to understand why 80% of members or Farmers Groups are not satisfied with project services, interviewing key informants (e.g. reputable leaders of Farmer Groups) may be better than organizing Focus Group Discussions as farmers may be too shy to express their views in public or in front of their leaders. • Key informant interviews are also helpful to obtain suggestions and recommendations from key informants. They may provide a basis to explore new ideas that were never discussed before. 1 In social sciences, triangulation means that more than two methods are used in a study with a view to double (or triple) checking results. This is also called "cross examination
  2. 2. TECHNICAL GUIDELINES No4 - Key informant interviews III - Limitations of key informant interviews • Information obtained can be biased if the key informant was not properly selected. Key informants are not necessary among village elites or leaders; a key informant can also be a simple farmer who is known to be smart, respected and outspoken. • Results of key informant interviews will not necessary be representative of what the entire community thinks and they may overlook the perspectives of community members who are less visible. Again, this stresses the importance of careful selection of key informants. • The information that you will get will provide very little basis for quantification. This is why such method should be used in conjunction with surveys. • Open-ended information is more difficult and time-consuming to synthesize well enough to obtain clear results. Also, it can be difficult to keep interviews focused, making different interviews difficult to compare properly. • Key informant interviews are also usually more difficult to conduct and require more skills from the interviewer, needs to be well prepared and well informed in order to get the most out of the interview. • Key informant interviews are also susceptible to interviewer’s biases, as the interviewer may only pick up information that confirms his/her preconceived ideas. IV –Before going to the field • Identify the discussion topics for which you need answers. The number and kinds of topics to discuss with key informants will depend on the time and resources available • For each discussion topic, prepare an interview guide. Interview guides are composed of (i) name of interviewer and key informant, location and date, (ii) brief description of the objectives of the interview, (iii) list of questions for the key informant with blank space to write the answers, (iv) blank space for general comments by the interviewer(s). The questions should be such that interviewees can express opinions through discussion. A logical sequence of the questions should help the discussion flow. See examples of questions in section V. • For each discussion topic, determine how many interviews are required (usually 3-4 per discussion topic). • Identify the key informants. This is usually done by: (i) Identifying the relevant groups from which key informants may be drawn (e.g. Water Users Associations). (ii) Consulting several knowledgeable persons (e.g. village leaders, field workers, project staff) who will help you select your key informants. For each discussion topic, be sure to interview a mix of people (of different ages, ethnicity, religious affiliation, educational level).
  3. 3. TECHNICAL GUIDELINES No4 - Key informant interviews (iii) Prepare the final list of key informants; but be ready to add additional key informants once you have started the interviews (it often happens that during an interview with a key informant, a name of a new key informant may be suggested). In most cases, 15 to 35 key informants are sufficient for most studies, or even less if key informant interviews are combined with other methods. • Train interviewers to ensure that they understand the purpose and develop the proper skills (how to encourage discussion, taking accurate and useful notes, etc.). Training needs to address team preparation, interview context, selection of key informant, sensitive listening, sensitive questioning, judging responses, recording the interview and self-critical review. • Pre-test the interview guides to make sure that the questions are appropriate and accurate enough, and that the answers permit useful analysis. Pre-testing provides an opportunity to determine whether wording of the questions is appropriate, whether questions elicit discussion, and to identify questions that are not easily understood. Pre- testing can be conducted during the training of enumerators. V – Data collection: how to conduct a key informant’s interview • At arrival in each village, talk to the village leader to present the work being conducted and ask for permission to interview village members. • When you start the interview with the key informant, introduce yourself, the project (if needed) and explain the purpose of the interview. Be sure the informant understands the purpose of the interview and what you intend to do with the information you will receive from him/her. • A good introduction will gain the interest and cooperation of the respondent without biasing the respondent’s answers. Emphasize the fact that the interview results will remain confidential (in the sense that the name of the informant will not be associated with answers collected). • As in focus group discussions, key informant interviews are best conducted by two people, one leading the discussion and the other taking note. Accurate note taking is particularly important to make analysis and interpretation possible. • A good interviewer will have the following abilities: o A good listener who shows neutrality and does not share his/her own views on the subject o Familiarity with the issue discussed, so as to be able to ask additional, unanticipated questions if required. o A person who is able to seek clarifications and elaboration on initial responses provided while maintaining a conversational tone so as to avoid that the informant feels interrogated, judged or misunderstood.
  4. 4. TECHNICAL GUIDELINES No4 - Key informant interviews VI - Data analysis and reporting • The performance questions of your project must guide the analysis, ie. you should refer to them when you report the results of the interviews. • The analysis is basically a consolidation of summaries of the interviews. For each discussion topic, a short report (2-3 pages) should be produced, showing the most important elements to take into consideration for project management. When the same topic was discussed both in focus group and key informant interview, compile the findings in the same report. • Proper note taking during the interview will facilitate the analysis. It is also a good idea to sit down right after each interview and put your thoughts on paper: a summary, your impressions of the key informant’s feelings, and anything else that seems relevant.
  5. 5. TECHNICAL GUIDELINES No4 - Key informant interviews EXAMPLE – FRAMEWORK FOR DEVELOPING THE KEY INFORMANT QUESTIONNAIRE Topic and key Objective Suggested questions informant Assess whether shocks or • What shocks have affected the population of the other activities not related to village during the past 12 months? (drought, the project have had a floods, crop pests and disease, livestock diseases, 1 – External factors significant impact of the food sudden lack or loss of employment, unusually high affecting food security security of the population in level of human disease , fire, high costs of during the last 12 the village agricultural inputs, earthquake, thefts, conflict, etc.) months • How have these shocks affected agricultural Village leader or any production/income? individual who lived in the village during the • Which categories of households were the most past 12 months affected (e.g. farmers, pastoralist, female-headed household…)? • What are the other effects on food security at household and community level? 2 - Natural resources Assess whether NR activities • Since when is the group functional? management are having the intended • How many members are active? impact on livelihoods of the Member of the NRM community • What are the problems encountered? group, or person in charge of NRM Identify problems and find • How can NRM activities be improved? solutions for improvement 3 - Infrastructure Understand whether • Condition of existing infrastructure? (roads, management infrastructure are effectively schools, drinking water, transport, irrigation, managed and respond to the communication, sanitation) Person in charge of needs of the community managing/maintaining • Who benefits from this infrastructure? the infrastructure Identify ways for • How has the infrastructure changed the living improvement conditions of the beneficiaries? • Do people pay fees or taxes to use this infrastructure? • Are people satisfied with the infrastructure ? 4 – Microfinance Better understand who • When was the group formed and is it currently benefits from microfinance operational? Why, why not? Head of the saving services (targeting) /credit group, or any • Who are the members? member of the group Identify problems • What are the problems encountered and how can with active involvement these be overcome? 5 – Markets Assess whether access to • Roads constructed or rehabilitated? Functioning? market has improved in the Person responsible for • Use of the road? community, identify problems market management / Market and storage facilities? Processing and constraints • market information facilities? system • Markets used by whom and how? 6 – Social Understand if the • Is the infrastructure currently used by the infrastructure constructed by community?
  6. 6. TECHNICAL GUIDELINES No4 - Key informant interviews infrastructure the project is effectively • How? managed and used Person responsible for • If not, why? managing the social • Do you think it will continue to operate after the infrastructure project? Why, why not? User of the social infrastructure 7 - Empowerment of Identify ways for better • What is the role of the organization in the grassroots institutions empowering grassroots community? institutions Member/leader of • Do you have decision power in…? grassroots organization Identify constraints and • What does empowerment mean to you? How challenges would this translate in the reality of your organization? Is this the case? What are the constraints and challenges? • Have activities of the project had an impact of the way you organization is working for the community? Links: Tips for conducting key informant interviews: http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PNABS541.pdf WFP technical guidance sheet on qualitative data analysis: http://www.wfp.org/content/technical-guidance-sheet-no9-qualitative-data-collection-and- analysis-food-security-assessments