2012 Training Course - Household Survey Data: Sampling and Processing

Event Date
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Dakar, Senegal

General overview

Over the last 20 years, micro-data have increasingly been used due to the sharp increase in computation power and rapid diffusion of personal computers. Alongside, statistical and econometric methods have been developed and readily tested to accommodate the needs of analysis and research, ranging from academia to national and international research institutions and think-tanks.

Among all the available micro-data, multi-topic household surveys have become popular among economists and social scientists, thanks to their peculiar feature of answering different research questions and providing results of simulation exercises. Academics, policy-makers and practitioners have benefited enormously from high quality household surveys that can link individual or household behavioral characteristics with macro trends, offering new insights on causal relationships among socio-economic variables.

This training aims to fill the gap on knowledge of household samples, from survey organization and design to the final product: a research paper, a set of simulation or impact analysis results, or just visual information for policy advocacy. The objective is to provide participants with a detailed overview of the key phases and concepts of multi-topic household survey data collection, as well as practical examples on how to handle the available information. The short course will enable the participants to gain familiarity with the general issues and procedures involved in collecting multi-topic household survey data, and to work independently using their preferred software, although the course will be focused on applications in Stata.


  • Dr. CARLO AZZARRI: Carlo Azzarri is a Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in the HarvestChoice team, a collaboration network between IFPRI and University of Minnesota. Prior to joining IFPRI, he was a team member of the Living Standard Measurements Study (LSMS) of the development research group (poverty and inequality) at the World Bank. He was also a member of the Rural Income Generating Activities (RIGA) team at FAO, where he served as consultant on agricultural development research issues, collaborating on flagship publications, analysing data and co-authoring research papers. His research interests include the interrelationships between poverty, nutrition, food security, agriculture, and migration, analysed at the micro and macroeconomic level, through quantitative (statistical and econometric) and qualitative methods. He has extensive experience in analyzing household survey microdata and in survey implementation and supervision, having conducted fieldwork activities in Latina America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe. He received the Ph.D. and Master’s degree in Economics from University of Rome -Tor Vergata-, and the BA in Economics and Business from University of Rome -La Sapienza-.

  • Ms. MELANIE BACOU: Melanie Bacou is an Agricultural Economist for HarvestChoice in IFPRI where she provides analytical and quantitative support to the Strategy Refresh of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Agricultural Development Program. Melanie combines national household surveys and bio-physical data to look at the spatial distribution and characteristics of poor small farm holders in sub-Saharan Africa. Mrs. Bacou was ICT/Data Specialist for the African Development Bank and on several USAID-funded programs and also led cost/benefit and economic impact analyses for the U.S. EPA. Between 2001 and 2005 she was with the Center for Global Trade Analysis (GTAP) where she conducted research on the impacts of regional trade agreements and climate change scenarios on global food security and poverty. She was also in charge of the Center's distance learning programs. Mrs. Bacou is proficient with SAS, R, STATA, ArcGIS, and relational databases (MS SQL Server, PostgreSQL, MySQL) and with a number of open-source web content management and learning management systems. She received a M. Sc. in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University, and holds a Masters in Business Administration and a German Diplom-Kaufmann from the European School of Management.



Day 1

Introduction and general discussion on microdata (1h)
Purpose, scope and objectives of household surveys (1h)
Questionnaire design (2h)
Sampling design and practical example (2h)
Survey organization and logistics (1h)

Day 2

What to do when the sample is on the screen?

  • First step: analyzing the consistency with the questionnaire (1h)
  • Second step: checking…and re-checking (1h)
  • Third step:  cleaning, imputing, merging, and documenting (1h)

Basic Linear Regression: theory and application (2h)
Examples of analysis using household surveys (1h)
Do your own: from the need of household surveys to the end-result (1h)

Day 3 (HALF-DAY)

Some basic concepts of spatial analysis (1h)
Working with shapefiles (1h)
Some basic maps using household surveys, with examples using different software (1h)


Basic knowledge of statistics and statistical software (preferably Stata - Excel not accepted-)