Surveys provide crucial information about the social consequences of armed conflict, but armed conflict can shape surveys in ways that limit their value. We use longitudinal survey data from throughout the recent armed conflict in Nepal to investigate the relationship between armed conflict events and response rates. The Chitwan Valley Family Study (CVFS) provides a rare window into survey data collection through intense armed conflict. The CVFS data reveal that different dimensions of armed conflict can affect survey response in opposing directions, with bombings in the local area reducing response rates but nationwide political events increasing response rates. This important finding demonstrates that survey data quality may be affected differently by various dimensions of armed conflict. Overall CVFS response rates remained exceptionally high throughout the conflict – we use the CVFS experience to identify principles likely to produce higher quality surveys during periods of generalized violence and instability.
Country of focus: Nepal.