Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 545572
Title Making the most of imperfect data: a critical evaluation of standard information collected in farm household surveys
Author(s) Fraval, Simon; Hammond, James; Wichern, Jannike; Oosting, Simon J.; Boer, Imke J.M. De; Teufel, Nils; Lannerstad, Mats; Waha, Katharina; Pagella, Tim; Rosenstock, Todd S.; Giller, Ken E.; Herrero, Mario; Harris, David; Wijk, Mark T. van
Source Experimental Agriculture (2018). - ISSN 0014-4797 - 21 p.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1017/S0014479718000388
Department(s) Plant Production Systems
WIAS
Animal Production Systems
PE&RC
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018
Abstract Household surveys are one of the most commonly used tools for generating insight into rural communities. Despite their prevalence, few studies comprehensively evaluate the quality of data derived from farm household surveys. We critically evaluated a series of standard reported values and indicators that are captured in multiple farm household surveys, and then quantified their credibility, consistency and, thus, their reliability. Surprisingly, even variables which might be considered ‘easy to estimate’ had instances of non-credible observations. In addition, measurements of maize yields and land owned were found to be less reliable than other stationary variables. This lack of reliability has implications for monitoring food security status, poverty status and the land productivity of households. Despite this rather bleak picture, our analysis also shows that if the same farm households are followed over time, the sample sizes needed to detect substantial changes are in the order of hundreds of surveys, and not in the thousands. Our research highlights the value of targeted and systematised household surveys and the importance of ongoing efforts to improve data quality. Improvements must be based on the foundations of robust survey design, transparency of experimental design and effective training. The quality and usability of such data can be further enhanced by improving coordination between agencies, incorporating mixed modes of data collection and continuing systematic validation programmes.
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