Using cognitive interviewing to improve the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index survey instruments: Evidence from Bangladesh and Uganda
The purpose of cognitive interviewing is to systematically identify and analyze sources of response error in surveys, and to use that information to improve the quality and accuracy of survey instruments. This paper describes the cognitive interviews undertaken in Bangladesh and Uganda in 2014 as part of the second round of pilots intended to refine the original version of the Women’s Empowerment in Agricultural Index (WEAI).
The WEAI is a survey-based tool that assesses gendered empowerment in agriculture. Baseline data were collected in 19 countries, but implementers reported some problems, such as confusion among both respondents and enumerators regarding the meaning of abstract concepts in the autonomy sub-module and difficulties recalling the sequence and duration of activities in the time-use sub-module. The results revealed potential problems with the survey questions and informed the revision of the WEAI, called the Abbreviated WEAI (or A-WEAI), which has less potential for response errors.Keywords: Agriculture; Bangladesh; cognitive interviewing; cognitive testing; survey methodology; Uganda; women’s empowerment