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How sharing results with field teams benefits relationships – and research outputs

IDinsight's AgResults Senegal team members lead a virtual feedback session with enumerators.

IDinsight prides itself on being highly engaged during data collection. Our standard protocol is that fieldwork takes place with a full-time IDinsight team member present – and sometimes several. Our teams also implement enumerator training and piloting and conduct data quality checks in real-time. 

Since the beginning of the year, to further strengthen the relationship between our research and field teams, IDinsight West and North Africa, in collaboration with the IDinsight Dignity Initiative, has piloted a new process of sharing study results with enumerators. Our primary goal was to ensure that enumerators get to see and discuss the direct results of their work while leveraging this opportunity to also get feedback on their experience with IDinsight.   

 In this blog post, we share why and how three of our Senegal project teams carried out these sessions, what we learned in the process, and tips for organizations interested in setting up similar sessions.

Why share study results with our enumerator teams?

In practice, sharing study results with enumerators wasn’t something our teams had ever formally done, nor are we aware of organizations having this type of practice. While research shows that study participants want to receive the results of the research they are subjects of, although this seldomly happens,1 grey and academic literature on sharing results with enumerators is limited. 

IDinsighters Mitali Mathur and Lipka Biswal’s survey of IDinsight enumerators in India showed that enumerators often do survey work to build new skills, serve their communities, and work on topics they are genuinely interested in. With this in mind, we designed study result sharing sessions thinking that enumerators would appreciate discussing the results of their own research work and learning more about the analysis and reporting processes. Further, we saw this as a way to acknowledge their integral role in our projects. Each session lasted about two hours and was structured in two parts: first a discussion of the study results, then a feedback discussion. In the first part, we paid attention to highlighting interesting or otherwise hard-to-interpret results, seeking any additional insights that enumerators could provide. The second part provided a concerted opportunity for enumerators to share direct feedback on their experience working with IDinsight, with these various aspects contributing to the ultimate goal of supporting a culture of dignity across IDinsight’s operations.

Lessons from the sessions

As we were hoping for, our enumerators greatly appreciated receiving and discussing the results of their research work and having an open forum for feedback. Some shared that this was the first time an organization they had worked with had taken the initiative to do so. Enumerators were also glad to have an open forum to share their opinions and feedback on the execution of the study. They mentioned that these sessions supported the construction of a trusting working relationship, and contributed to them feeling heard and valued by IDinsight beyond the confines of their contracts. They also expressed interest in being part of a directory of IDinsight-affiliated enumerators and being automatically considered for future projects, which in turn would provide an additional sense of security.

These sessions also provided an unexpected benefit for our projects themselves. In multiple instances, our enumerators helped our research teams decipher what initially seemed like confusing results by providing on-point insights from their observations during field work and their understanding of complex contexts.  For instance, for one of our projects on strengthening democratic structures, our enumerator team provided additional context related to perceived differences in knowledge between trained and untrained community leaders, particularly concerning different levels of knowledge within a given group. The enumerators aptly pointed out that this was linked to their ability to attend the training (due to transport, timing, or other factors), so not everyone had been able to attend the sessions. This helped us to contextualize our results and recommendations.  Overall, the sessions contributed to improving the quality of our research outputs, for the benefit of all.

AgResults Senegal team members lead a virtual feedback session with enumerators.

Our tips on setting up sessions of your own

Given the benefits, we noted in our pilot sessions, in hindsight, the idea of sharing study results with surveyors seemed obvious. We hope to encourage other research organizations to take up similar norms. In this spirit, we’ve included tips that might be useful should you choose to do a similar session.

  1. Our enumerators preferred in-person sessions, but virtual sessions are feasible too. Among our three project teams, two used in-person sessions. One chose a virtual session to accommodate a large field team (over 40 enumerators). The virtual format did not limit engagement and was a feasible alternative if needed.
  2. We recommend holding a session soon after field work and before finalizing the research, but better later than never. To maximize the likelihood that insights from enumerators can be best leveraged by the research team, we recommend having the session as soon as possible after fieldwork. However, having the session later seemed to have little influence on participation or insights provided. For example, our latest session was approximately seven months following the conclusion of fieldwork, and we still received strong participation and valuable insights and feedback. Our take is that a late session is still better than no session.
  3. Collect feedback anonymously before the live session. To focus conversations, two of our teams shared an anonymous qualitative and quantitative survey about a week before the session.  The key categories were : (1) Recruitment and training, (2) Survey materials and instructions provided, (3) Experience with IDinsight contractors (transportation, lodging, survey firms, etc.), and (4) Experience with IDinsight teammates featuring the Dignity scale. In each section, we asked enumerators to rank their satisfaction with IDinsight’s provisions. We then asked for additional qualitative comments on improving each area and their thoughts on what we did particularly well. This allowed us to pinpoint key areas of discussion during the session and root them in specific comments or feedback we’d received.
  4. Plan time to prepare and carry out the sessions. Altogether, carrying out a session required about two days of work from one teammate.  This accounted for the time to develop and analyze results from the feedback survey, develop pertinent discussion points, organize the logistics of the sessions, and lead each 2-hour discussion.
  5. Budget for participant compensation. To increase the likelihood of participation,  we recommend covering the costs of transportation and providing light refreshments for in-person sessions. For virtual sessions, we would recommend covering airtime used for the call.
  6. Create a plan for how to incorporate feedback from respondents. Creating a forum for open feedback is an initial step, but it’s important to have a process for systematically considering and incorporating that feedback.

Acknowledgements and a commitment.

We thank the AgResults, Tostan SDCE and ARED teams especially Julius Hermel Houehou, Mary Blair, Sokhna Mously Fall, Felipe Acero, Lorraine d’Anglejan, and Cassandre Pignon – for leaning into the experience, leading pilot sessions and sharing their learnings in this blog post. We would also like to thank the Dignity Initiative team –– Mary Blair, Nakubyana Mungomba and Tom Wein ––for supporting this endeavor.

Following the success of these pilots, IDinsight’s West North Africa region has committed to embedding this form of feedback in its remaining projects for 2023. We hope to encourage an org-wide norm in the same way. If your organization is interested in this effort and/or if you have also piloted a similar norm, do not hesitate to contact our West & North Africa team ( to share your learnings.

  1. 1. Long CR, Stewart MK, Cunningham TV, Warmack TS, McElfish PA. Health research participants’ preferences for receiving research results. Clinical Trials. 2016;13(6):582-591. doi:10.1177/1740774516665598