Child Labour Statistics: Manual on methodologies for data collection through surveys

The SIMPOC Manual on methodologies for data collection through surveys contains sample questionnaires for the various types of child labour surveys.

Instructional material | 01 March 2004
The manual aims to serve those responsible for designing and conducting child labour surveys and researchers collecting information on all aspects of issues related to child workers. It specifies the essential concepts and definitions, and provides operational guidelines for determining the scope and content of various types of child labour surveys, for design of the questionnaires and interviewer instructions, and for selection of the survey respondents. The manual will help with training personnel in the conduct of child labour surveys of various types. It will also be of great assistance to data analysts, users of statistics, researchers, planners, policy makers, and others who are interested in child labour statistics.

PART ONE: Background and general information

Chapter 1 introduces this manual, a reference work intended to assist with the collection, compilation, and analysis of child labour statistics. It describes the context in which the manual has been produced, outlining related ILO/IPEC endeavours and SIMPOC objectives. The chapter explains the vital role of reliable child labour statistics in targeted intervention programmes, and why gender mainstreaming is required in the data collection process. It also highlights the purpose and scope of the manual, its organization, and its intended uses, showing that it can play an integral role in the eventual elimination of child labour.

Chapter 2 addresses such concepts and definitions as “child labour” and “the worst forms of child labour”, and describes the ILO Conventions and Resolutions that are used to demarcate the boundaries for child labour. There being, as yet, no internationally acceptable statistical standard definition of child labour, and given that existing approaches to define child labour are much debated, the chapter refers to ongoing research designed to establish a consensus on this issue. The main factors underlying child labour are also discussed in brief.

Chapter 3 focuses on child labour data needs and measurement approaches. It highlights the data requirements of users in particular situations, and suggests alternative survey methods of collecting the required statistics on working children. The chapter compares the available approaches, guiding the user in identifying the methodology best suited to assess a particular child labour situation. It also defines the more important statistics and indicators that assist in measuring and understanding the child labour phenomenon.

PART TWO: Household-based survey

Part Two examines the household-based child labour survey, providing detailed guidance for each step of data collection, processing, and compilation.

Chapter 4 on survey planning and organization, discusses recommended preparatory procedures and decisions.

Chapter 5 discusses questionnaire design, an essential feature of any survey. This being the instrument on which information is recorded, a good questionnaire is basic in meeting user data needs. Illustrative questionnaires and an enumerators’ manual are annexed for reference.

Chapter 6 looks at sampling design, including technical aspects of selecting survey respondents, and introduces a novel sampling procedure peculiar to household-based child labour surveys.

Chapter 7 discusses selected sampling issues, especially those of weighting and sampling variance.

Chapter 8 on preparation for data collection, presents recommendations regarding matters that need attention prior to the start of collection, e.g. training of fieldworkers and finalizing questionnaires. A few procedures requiring attention immediately following data collection are also addressed.

Chapter 9 recommends practical guidelines for conducting fieldwork. Among topics discussed are locating the respondents, interview procedures, and overcoming possible difficulties during conduct of the survey.

Chapter 10 deals with coding, a vital operation that facilitates data analysis by transforming responses recorded on the questionnaire into numeric form.

Chapter 11 focuses on data processing issues, offering guidelines for preparing a reliable and complete dataset from the information collected during field interviews.

Chapter 12 focuses on data analysis and reporting issues. It provides instructions for good data analysis, recommending a format in which data should be compiled and presented in a report, helping to ensure that the survey’s end product is effective in promoting public awareness and dialogue on measures to combat child labour.

PART THREE: Complementary methods of data collection

Part Three is concerned with the alternative methodologies for child labour data collection through surveys – beyond the household-based survey discussed in Part Two – that were mentioned in Chapter 3.

Chapter 13 looks at rapid assessments.

Chapter 14 discusses establishment surveys.

Chapter 15 focuses on street children surveys.

Chapter 16 presents the school-based survey.

Chapter 17 examines baseline surveys.