9th panel wave TH completed


The 9th panel wave of the Thailand Vietnam Socio Economic Panel (TVSEP) has been completed on June 10, 2022. It was the first full household survey since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in February 2020 and therefore was an especially challenging task. A total of 2.101 out of 2.199 households were successfully interviewed, resulting in an attrition of below 5 %. Most panel households welcomed the TVSEP survey team, while outright interview rejections were few. Many of the missing households are due to migration, disability or death of household head, often resulting in dissolution of the household. 

Additional interviews with heads or deputy heads of all 220 TVSEP villages were successfully carried out. There were no interview rejections which is attributable to the village survey carried out in November 2021 in preparation of the panel survey where good contacts with village heads were established.

The survey was implemented following the high technical standards of TVSEP panel surveys with a comprehensive, well-tested tablet-based household questionnaire and shorter village head questionnaire. Both questionnaires were designed and implemented using the World Bank’s Survey Solution software. Intensive training and close supervision was carried our jointly between the LUH data collection and data management team (Prof. Waibel, TVSEP Coordinator, Mr. Niels Wendt as the Survey Manager, Ms. Marina Bergmeier, as Administrative Officer and Mr. Mark Brooks and Mr. Robin Giesecke, as IT support staff. The team of Ubon Ratchathani University (UBU) consisted of Dr. Narintorn Boonbrahm, Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Mr. Nopporn Tantisirin, consultant, Dr. Somkid Naprom, consultant and Ms Yok Wannakham, TVSEP Research Assistant.

Following TVSEP standard operating procedure, three provincial teams, headed by a provincial team leader (PTL) and consisting of sub teams with 5 enumerators (Enum) and one sub-team leader (STL) each. Hereby, the province of Ubon Ratchathani, headed by Mr. Sirawitch Rattanaprateeptong, from the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), was equipped with four sub teams, the team in Buri Ram province was headed by Dr. Napatsorn Montha, from Chiang Mai University and was staffed with three sub teams. Finally, the province of Nakhon Phanom, headed by Ms. Jinda Glinoubol from UBU, had only two sub teams as it is the smallest among TVSEP provinces. In total over 80 staff, including drivers and assistants were involved in the panel survey. 

As per survey procedure teams of five enumerators, supervised by a sub team leader, interviewed 10 households in a TVSEP village. Once the interview was completed it was uploaded on the LUH server. Within 24 hours the interview was checked online by so-called Data Checking Assistants (DCA) and either accepted or rejected. In case of the latter, the questionnaire went back to the tablet of the enumerator who had to respond within 24 hours to the issues raised. Once the questionnaire was accepted it was forwarded to Headquarter Level where it was checked again. If accepted, the questionnaire was stored in the survey data base.

On every survey day there were up to 90 household questionnaires and 9 village questionnaires completed and uploaded to the LUH server.

There were 7 students and graduates from Kasetsart University in Bangkok and three from LUH, i.e. two from the Institute of Development and Agricultural Economics (EAGR) and one from the Institute of Environmental Economics and World Trade (IUW) who performed the DCA tasks. As experience from past surveys has shown, the DCA work is effective to help Enums and make them follow interview and survey guidelines which is particular important at the beginning and towards the end of the survey.

Survey preparations in Thailand were carried out during February and March for interviewing and hiring of survey staff, field testing of questionnaires and other administrative preparations, especially in view of Covid-19 regulations in the three survey provinces. The training phase started on 16 April with a one-day, in presence training of the Thai DCAs. The training of the English-speaking PTL took place from 18 – 20 April while the STL training followed on April 22-23. Both trainings were conducted using the facilities of the TVSEP project office at UBU. From 25 April to 5 May, an intensive training of 50 Enums took place, including teaching background and rationale of survey, IT skills and practical exercises. Five trainees were excluded from the survey team due to insufficient performance. 

The survey started with a “close-supervision-scheme” in the province of Ubon Ratchathani for all teams on May 6 and 7. During these two days, all teams undertook interviews in Ubon, whereby the supervisory team was present in the villages during the interviews. In the evenings, feedback was given and corrections were made. On the following day, the teams split into their respective provinces and the survey continued on May 9 by provincial teams separately. The last team completed its survey on June 3. The survey was officially concluded with a ceremony issuing certificates of appreciation to members of the survey team.

From June 5 – 10, two small teams were sent to interview missing households (due to isolation, absence or unavailability on the scheduled interview day). There were 133 households missing at the end of the survey out which 54 could be still be interviewed in the follow-up survey.

In conclusion, the 9th TVSEP panel survey in Thailand was successful. This also attributable to the favorable conditions, including excellent office and teaching facilities at TVSEP’s partner institution, the Ubon Ratchathani University which is hereby greatly acknowledged.

While the findings are subject to a more elaborate report, including descriptive statistics from village, household and para data, two main features of this panel wave stand out. First, the successful implementation of the GPS-based plot measurement tool which allows the establishment of a plot panel and subsequent research thereof. Second, a special Covid-19 module in both village and household questionnaire which reveals that the pandemic had really hit the rural villages hard after May 2021 when the number of infections rose rapidly in Thailand. By May 2022 most households perceived a negative impact of Covid-19 on household welfare which was not yet the case during the special Covid-19 survey in November/December 2020.

The data from the village head survey also impressively demonstrate the vital response of village authorities to combat the pandemic as indicated in vaccination rates of around 80 %. More details on Covid-19 impact and the post-Covid situations of the rural households in the TVSEP panel will be given in a statistical follow-up report.

Below are some selected photos from the survey.

Photo 1: Household interview under Covid-19 precautionary measures.
Photo 3: Issuance of certificates of appreciation to enumerators.
Photo 2: Enum team on the way to interviews using local means of transportation.