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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - African Population Studies
Title From design to practice: how can large-scale household surveys better represent the complexities of the social units under investigation?
Author(s)
Volume 28
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
Page numbers 1309-1323
URL http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/59737/1/Coast_etal_From-design-to-practice_2014.pdf
Abstract
The way in which ‘the household’ is defined and operationalised in surveys and census data collection has long
been criticised as unable to adequately capture the complexities of the social units within which people live.
In a South African national survey on household wealth (HWS) a definition of the household was used to
represent the ways in which South African households arrange themselves financially. Here we report on a
quali tative study in which 36 households originally included in the HWS were re-interviewed to collect
detailed data on household financial links and dependencies. Households with more complex structures,
which represent the majority of household types in South Africa, were very poorly represented, and possible
reasons for this are explored. We analyse and discuss the HWS research process in the light of the findings
of this study, and propose ways to improve large-scale survey design and data collection, drawing on
perspectives from multiple disciplines

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