Jamaica News: The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) is administering pretest II of the Census 2021 questionnaire.
A total of 20 communities from across the island have been selected to participate in the exercise, which got under way on Wednesday (November 20) and ends December 13.
They are Allman Town, Kingston; Duhaney Park and Mount James in St. Andrew; Baptist, St. Thomas; Sherwood Forest, Portland; Richmond, St. Mary; Mansfield and Brown’s Town in St. Ann; Clark’s Town, Trelawny; Reading and Dumfries in St. James; Dias, Hanover; Lennox Bigwoods, Westmoreland; Ballard’s Valley, St. Elizabeth; May Day and Walderston in Manchester; Chapelton and Water Lane in Clarendon; and Harewood and Edgewater in St. Catherine.
The first pretest exercise was conducted over four weeks, from May 24 to June 21.
Speaking with JIS News, Head of the Special Projects Unit at STATIN, Philone Mantock, explained that two sets of questionnaires – a household and an individual – will be administered by the interviewers at randomly selected households in each of the various communities.
Ms. Mantock explained that the household questionnaire will cover areas such as the type of building or dwelling, whether it is an apartment or townhouse, separate or attached house; if the building is owned by the occupant(s) or rented; number of rooms and type of toilet facilities.
“For the individual questionnaire, ideally or as much as possible, we would want all the members of the household to participate… so each person in the household will answer questions related to their age, religion or denomination, education and employment,” she pointed out.
Ms. Mantock further informed that while the first pretest was paper-based, pretest II will be done on tablet, similar to what will be done for the actual 2021 census.
She said that the objective is to test the questionnaires drafted for Census 2021 “to determine the receptiveness of the respondents and how well they understand the questions, if the questions are asking what we need them to ask, and the flow of the questions”.
The Special Projects Unit Head noted that from pretest I, the team was able to report on questions that gave householders problems and make adjustments for the administration of pretest II.
“Pretest I was very beneficial, as it showed us the questions that we had to reword. We met with the interviewers and each of them gave their status report and comments, and then we changed the questionnaire accordingly,” Ms. Mantock said.
In terms of feedback, she noted that most of the respondents were receptive. “They were willing to answer because they understood that it was a test and will be used to make the questionnaire better for the actual census,” she said.
Following pretest II, a meeting will be convened to discuss matters that arose from the administering of the exercise.
“We will also plan for a pilot of the census in April 2020, and this will be a larger-scale exercise, where we will test the entire process of the census, from recruitment, data collection to coding and processing the data, and that will ensure our readiness for census 2021,” Ms. Mantock noted.
The population and housing census is done every 10 years, and provides information on the size of the population in areas such as age, sex, religion and education.
Source: JIS News