RESOURCE: Disability Survey Toolkit for Researchers

Posted on 10 March 2008. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Cross-Disability, Poverty, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Disability advocates who work in the field know first hand there is never enough money for the projects they want to run for disabled people. One reason is because society may undervalue people with disabilities. But another is lack of data. Policy makers and funders are reluctant to release valuable funds unless there is a clearly documented need.

Household surveys on disability can be immensely helpful in collecting the data needed to persuade policy makers to commit resources to programs that include, or target, disabled people. But such surveys can be highly variable in quality depending on the researchers’ familiarity with disability-specific research issues. For example, surveys that simply ask, “Are you or someone in your household disabled?” tend to significantly underestimate true disability prevalence.

Researchers who intend to conduct household surveys on disability can begin with a resource released from Handicap International, entitled “Conducting Surveys on Disability: A Comprehensive Toolkit” (PDF format, 1.1 Mb).

This toolkit offers guidance in designing, conducting, implementing, and analyzing household surveys meant to help understand disability within a specific social, political, cultural, and religious context. Researchers can learn appropriate methodologies for this type of research, including selecting samples, designing questionnaires, training interviewers,
conducting field operations to collect the data, and analyzing and disseminating the results.

The toolkit is targeted at anyone with an interest in data collection, surveys, disability, and development. It was inspired in part by a National Disability Survey that was conducted in Afghanistan from November 2004 to July 2005. The NDSA was carried out by Handicap International for the government of Afghanistan to obtain more accurate information on the
prevalence rates, living conditions, and coping strategies of people with disabilities.

This survey brought together researchers with prior experience with the particular challenges of researching disability and stimulated discussions about the sampling process and tools that should be used. The resulting document includes their recommendations and presents these debates.

People may download the full disability survey toolkit in PDF format (1.1 Mb) for free at:

We Can Do learned about this resource from AskSource is a comprehensive database on health, disability, and development.

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