Table 7: Key factors to consider for data collection. Adapted from (1 and 22).
As a power relation gender influences… Key considerations Actions
Who participates as respondents Respondents may be excluded due to differential levels of education, literacy, proficiency in national languages or proficiency with technology. Implement an intentional strategy to identify and access appropriate types of respondents and ensure that key respondents are not being excluded.
Respondents who are women/girls may need to have additional permissions to participate within the research and/or travel to research locations to participate in focus group discussions, have less free time to participate in research or privacy, and will often have more gatekeepers inhibiting their involvement. Ensure that participants are not being overburdened through participation in research.
Sampling may be skewed towards respondents who are the most visible subjects, without including the less visible gatekeepers or decision-makers that frame the contexts in which those subjects live and work. Include gatekeepers and/or decision-makers within sample; ensure inclusion does not further disempower women and girls or other marginalized groups.
When data is collected and where Men/boys and women/girls have different responsibilities within and outside of the home, which affects when they are available. Schedule data collection at a time that does not inconvenience participants.
Context may affect the extent to which individuals have privacy. Where possible, ensure that interviews or surveys are conducted in a private setting.
Participants who have been affected by infectious diseases of poverty may experience increased stigma because of participation within research, which may be exacerbated by gender relations and the intersection with other social variables. Include participants in a confidential manner; where participation might increase stigma, ensure data is collected in a neutral location.
Who is present during data collection Power relations between and among respondents can affect the quality and accuracy of data collected (e.g. women may respond differently in the presence of men and may remain silent, even if they disagree or if inaccurate information is given or adolescent girls (and boys) may respond differently in the presence of parents or guardians). If conducting focus group discussions, conduct separate discussions for men and women, boys and girls.
Consider the power dynamics that may exist between participants and structure focus group discussions or other data collection methods accordingly, (i.e. disaggregate participations by age, occupation etc.).
Who collects and analyses data The position of researchers may influence respondents’ responses or ability and/or willingness to participate (e.g. in some contexts it may be important for respondents to be interviewed by a researcher of the same sex). Where possible, use data collectors that are the same sex as the respondents.
The sex of the researcher may affect the ability to get access to collect data; for example, in many contexts only data collectors who are women will be allowed to enter homes or will be allowed to collect anthropometric measurements of women and children. Use local data collectors where relevant.
Researchers will have gender biases that influence the data collection and analysis process. Ensure that all data collectors receive training and supervision to become aware of their own gender or other biases and how they can address them.
As a research team, reflect on own power dynamics and position within the data collection and analysis process. Be prepared to challenge each other’s assumptions and questions asked of the data. Be flexible to reconstitute data collectors if necessary.
Use joint reviews of transcripts and debriefing meetings among team members to identify potential bias and check assumptions.