Navigation to the selected areas

Once the sample of 500 SALs iss selected, a navigational toolkit is developed to assist the field teams in finding the selected SALs. These kits assist the supervisors and fieldworkers to locate the exact SAL where the interviews are to take place. The navigational kits include:

  • Route descriptions, to assist the teams to navigate their way to the selected enumerator areas
  • Maps that, using aerial photographs as a base, identify the exact geographic location of the enumerator areas to be sampled throughout the country
  • More detailed maps that identify the exact area, pinpointing street names and places of interest such as schools, clinics and hospitals. These maps included latitude-longitude and GPS coordinates indicating the centroid of the SAL. 

Introduction of the project to the authorities and communities

A month before the start of the SASAS fieldwork, Agri South Africa (Agri SA) and all police commissioners in the nine provinces are informed of the study. Before starting the interviewing process, supervisors are instructed to visit the police stations, Indunas, traditional leaders or other role players in the various areas to ensure that the authorities were aware of the project and to inform the communities of their intent. Official letters describing the project and its duration and relevant ethical issues were distributed to the authorities. This is done not only as a form of research and ethical protocol but to ensure the safety of the fieldwork teams.   

Selecting a household and individual

After driving through the SAL and introducing the project to the local authorities, supervisors have to identify the selected households. A household is selected using a random starting point and counting an interval between households. The interval is calculated using the number of households in the SAL. Once the selected household has been identified, a household member is selected randomly as respondent. This household member (respondent) need to be 16 years or older. For the purpose of this survey, the Kish grid was used to randomly select the respondent in the household.

Data collection protocol

The following general protocol guidelines for data gathering areimplemented: 

  • Fieldworkers and supervisors are required to notify the relevant local authorities that they will be working in the area. The purpose is twofold: (a) to increase the safety of fieldworkers and (b) to reassure respondents, especially the elderly or suspicious, that the survey was official.
  • Supervisors are advised to inform the Inkosi or Induna in a traditional authority area, whilst in urban formal or urban informal areas they have to report to the local police station. In some areas, the local councillor is also met and informed about the study before work starts in an area. 
  • They are also advised that farms should be entered with caution and that they should report to the local Agri South Africa (Agri SA) offices before doing so. Field supervisors are issued with ‘Farm letters’ which contained information on the purpose of the study and contact details in case there were queries.
  • Consent forms have to be completed for each interview. While verbal consent was to be secured from the respondent before the interview, a written consent form had to be signed afterwards. 
  • Fieldworkers are issued with nametags and letters of introduction to be used in the field.  The introduction letter is translated from English into six other languages.
  • Fieldworkers have to present their identity cards when introducing themselves. 


Two-day training sessions are held in various provinces. The training sessions include sessions on selection and sampling households; fieldwork operating procedures; research protocol; and ethical considerations. The questionnaire is discussed in detail.  As far as possible, the training is participatory, practical and interactive, and give fieldworkers the opportunity to seek clarification of questions. A training manual is also provided as part of the training toolkit.  A network of locally-based fieldwork supervisors in all parts of the country assist in data collection. Competent fieldworkers with a thorough understanding of the local areas are employed. 

Quality control

HSRC researchers conduct random visits to selected areas and work with the fieldworkers for a certain period to ensure that they adhere to ethical research practices and understand the intent of the questions in the questionnaire. HSRC researchers also ensure that the correct selection protocols are followed in order to identify households and the respondents in the households and that the procedures for administering the questionnaire is followed . Field backchecks are conducted in all nine provinces. Telephonic backchecks were done on 10 % of the total sample.

Data capture and processing

All data is double captured to ensure that there were no capturing errors. The final data set is subjected to a data verification and cleaning process. Data is checked and edited for logical consistency, permitted ranges, reliability on derived variables and filter instructions.