Harmonised households : the implications of standardised data tools for understanding intergenerational relations

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Anthropology

Abstract

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Publications

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Description In national data collection exercises such as censuses and sample surveys there is an international expectation that the unit of data collection - the household - has the same definition and meaning across both space and time. We have shown that (a) despite advocating harmonisation there are subtle or not so subtle differences in the definitions used in our study countries (England & Wales, France, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Uganda (b) in African contexts the idea of household is often seen as an alien unit imposed from outside that has little meaning as a local social unit (c) the way the unit is defined means that indicators such as poverty indices or proportions of female headed household may be misleading and not comparable between countries. Data users are often not aware of the nuances of the definitions or the biases they may generate
Exploitation Route Reports should reflect openly on the implications of definitions for their findings
Data collectors should begin to think of more creative and inclusive ways of recording household membership that allows comparability but are also better at reflecting people's lived realities
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL http://www.householdsurvey.info
 
Description Family Demography and Health in Low- and Middle-income Countries: A Cyberseminar Series Exploring Family Change and Intergenerational Relationships
Amount £14,034 (GBP)
Funding ID ES/J021881/1 
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2013 
End 05/2015
 
Description Meetings and collaboration with Help Age International 
Organisation Help Age International
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution A series of meeting have taken place over the course of the project to discuss common themes of interest to both Help Age International (HAI) and researchers on this project (UCL/LSE). We are discussing future outputs, have had a number of meetings about research we can present to HAI which falls in line with our research interests and which will enable them to inform their own means of lobbying policy makers in East and West Africa, where our work is taking place.
Start Year 2011
 
Description Understanding the implications for data production and use of a specific definition of the household as applied in a South African household finanical well-being survey conducted by the PFRU, UNISA 
Organisation UNISA
Department Bureau of Market Research
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution A survey of households in South Africa was conducted to determine the wealth status of a representative sample of South African households. The survey asked questions about household income and expenditure as well as assets and liabilities. A working definition of the household as unit of analysis was used which should have allowed an accurate picture of the South African household as a wealth-creation unit to be constructed. The problematic nature of using ?the household? as unit of analysis was acknowledged and the need for greater awareness of how this impacts the PFRU?s efforts to understand the South African household as a wealth-creation unit recognised. With specific reference to the PFRU's household financial well-being survey, the following research questions will be explored: What methodological lessons can be learnt from the way in which fieldworkers and respondents applied the survey's definition of the household? a) how well is the survey definition able to deal with and represent different types of social units in the South African context [operationalised: which types of households did fieldworkers have difficulty with in terms of who to include/exclude and why; who did respondents include/exclude and why?] ie are there certain types of people / household / living arrangement which are poorly represented by the definition used - either because their poverty / wealth is not well captured or because interviewers didn't know who to speak to / couldn't speak to the right people or were unable to collect appropriate data? b) what are the implications (limitations) of the definition used for understanding the South African household as a wealth-creating unit? [operationalised: which parts of the survey did respondents find difficult to answer and why?] i.e. what situations are (or are likely to be) particularly poorly dealt with using this definition (or in a household survey in general that tries to identify these unique units)?
Start Year 2011
 
Description Blog: The power of the interviewer 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A blog post on the basis of the journal article: Randall, S., E. Coast, N. Compaore, P. Antoine (2013) "The power of the interviewer: a qualitative perspective on African survey data" Demographic Research 28(27) pp.763-792.



Surveys are the main source of information about poverty, health, demography and many other indicators in Africa, making them vital for evidence-based policy design and planning. But have social scientists been ignoring the potential impact of interviewers on the data they collect? A new study[1], whose researchers include LSE's Ernestina Coast, highlights just how much influence interviewers have over the data they produce.

None
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/africaatlse/2013/06/10/the-power-of-the-interviewer/
 
Description Boundaries and composition of households/ménages in the last census round in France and the UK and implications for household surveys 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Organized by 2 ANR-ESRC sponsored teams
LiLi des Lieux aux Liens, l'espace comme révélateur des fonctionnements familiaux
http://lili-efl2011.site.ined.fr/en/
HH-MM Harmonised households: the implications of standardised data tools for understanding intergenerational relations http://www.householdsurvey.info/
AIMS of the workshop:
1. Bring together two research teams (HH-MM and LiLi) and ONS researchers to discuss emerging issues around households in UK and France (HH-MM works on France & UK, LiLi on France, ONS on UK)
2. Identify differences and similarities in the ways that terms ménage /household are both used and operationalised in UK and France and the ways the concepts can accommodate 'difficult' populations
3. Identify the extent to which the ways these 'difficult' populations are treated are harmonized and comparable between the two countries
4. Identify gaps in knowledge and understanding future research directions and brain-storm research projects and collaborations to follow on from HH_MM and LiLi



EAch presentation generated a set of questions they would like to put to the workshop - (for example)
• How are these issues dealt with in the other country?
• What is people's knowledge about how these are dealt with elsewhere (either from experience or literature)?
• Are the implications the same for censuses and surveys?
• What are the GAPS in our knowledge?

all to foster creative discussions

contacts with other researchers and requests to read our publications
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Household surveys in development research: methodological reflections from sub-Saharan Africa 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact Invited presentation at the London International Development Centre (LIDC) research seminar

more downloads of our papers
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Households in administrative data - definition and estimation: workshop, The Census Transformation Programme ONS 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Census Transformation Programme ONS is running has identified household statistics as one of the types of outputs they are working on in their annual progress report. At the event in July, they showed an initial algorithm to classify households based on very simple demographics at an address. They will be presenting an update, as well as their understanding of user needs, so far. Eva Lelievre (INED) will present about the comparative definitions used by France and UK nations for households in census. This work comes from the ESRC funded Harmonised Households project and extends to other cultures. m
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Pauvreté et ménages en Afrique: les limites des enquêtes et de leurs représentations statistiques 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact stimulated discussion with other researchers


contacts with other researchers
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://fasopo.org/backup/index.htm