Do MICS surveys collect and/or release GIS data?
The MICS Programme does not include GIS data collection on a standard basis, but some MICS surveys do include GIS data collection (see guidance). Typically, this is carried out for a specific purpose, such as when a survey collects data for the anemia biomarker, which requires altitude information. However, this does not mean that detailed spatial analysis is impossible -- even for surveys that have not carried out GIS data collection. The majority of Statistical Offices participating in the MICS Programme already 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.
Why does MICS only collect data on children under 5 years of age but not on children of all ages?
Children under age five are the focal point of many programmatic interventions in areas of interest to governments, UNICEF and other partners. However, in addition to the questionnaire for children under five, MICS also collects data on children age five or above through the household questionnaire (such as education, child labour and child discipline) as well as the questionnaire for individual women and men (through retrospective questions such as age at marriage or early childbearing).
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 field editor, 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 and the editor checking their work immediately upon completion. The information from the individual questionnaire is also cross referenced to other questionnaires completed in that household for accuracy.
One important element of MICS surveys is the presence of a field editor within the teams to ensure any potentially incorrect responses are investigated and resolved while the survey teams are still in the field.
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 a household per day to verify the completed questionnaires and ensure that correct information is recorded.
Furthermore, data entry starts almost simultaneously with data collection and in order to monitor the quality of the work, teams’ as well as individual interviewers’ performance is observed through the field check tables produced regularly and feedback is provided to the field teams regarding any problems identified.
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 considered to be risky for cultural reasons. 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.