Organisation & Management of the field Operators

The 2011 Population Census was a count of all persons in Trinidad and Tobago as at Census Night- January 09, 2011. Every attempt was made to enumerate all households/persons in all areas throughout the country regardless of whatever challenges that existed. The following is a description of the organization and management of the field operations.

Field Operators

Enumerators were assigned to EDs (Enumeration Districts) close to their home addresses. This practice ensured that they could be on the job easily and regularly, eliminating/reducing transport problems and costs. The workload allocation estimated by the census unit was given to Zone Coordinators. In assigning this workload, particular attention was paid to the maintenance of contiguity. Zone Coordinators were bound by the number of assignments. Changes could only be made to the number of assignments after discussions with the Census Unit technical staff. Other changes like switching around assignments could easily be made. Due to initial shortfalls, dropouts and termination of employment, enumerators doubled up- did several assignments and formed teams to complete areas or to reduce ‘no contacts’. Therefore the final workload allocation at the end of the census exercise differed slightly from the initial workload assignment.

A workload had always been regarded as 150 – 200 households. However, where the terrain was difficult, expansive, or very remote, smaller allocations were permitted. Enumerators with small EDs (less than 150-200) without any difficulties were expected to work in other EDs to make up their assignment. For this census, these procedures were not always observed. Enumerators with EDs above 220 were compensated for that portion above 200 – as follows 220/200 * rate of payment. If less than 220, then one payment was made.

At least three visits at varying times had to be made by an enumerator to a particular household before that household could be regarded as a ‘no contact’. The Supervisor was then responsible for contacting the household and for handling refusals. At the start of the census an internal decision was made that the rate of ‘no contacts’ should not exceed 10%. As the census progressed and high rates were observed the census officer decided that the rate should not exceed 25% and that any rate higher than 25% would incur a deduction of 10% from the remuneration of the enumerator. If a supervisor had more than 2 enumerators with rates above 25% then he would receive a cut of 10%. In the Tunapuna/Piarco Zone, the rates were so high that the technical unit of the Census decided to go into the field to enumerate some of those areas. In every area canvassed, households were anxious to be enumerated and complained that no census person visited.

An unusually significant number of dwellings were found to be ‘vacant’. At first, the Housing Section of the census questionnaires was being completed to capture information on the dwelling unit. This meant that only three (3) pages of a (21) twenty one page questionnaire would be utilized. However, when it was realized that there will be a shortage of census questionnaires, a new questionnaire including the cover page of the census questionnaire and the Housing Section was printed internally, with bar codes for scanning. Hundreds of these questionnaires had to be printed and distributed to Zone Coordinators. It was recalled in the planning phase of the census, a suggestion was made to have a shorter questionnaire for ‘no contacts with information’ which includes information on the building. This form was meant to be held and controlled by the Supervisor and should have been used only at the end of the census. This suggestion was not accepted since it was believed that supervisors and enumerators would abuse the use of this form, using it more than the actual census questionnaire.

At the end of each week of the census each field officer had to complete a progress report so that the Census Unit could monitor the progress of the exercise. The enumerators would submit to the field supervisor who would summarize and submit to the Technical Area supervisor. The summaries will continue to the level of the Zone. The Census Unit had expected to receive all progress reports from the level of Supervisor to Zone Coordinator. However, it was difficult to receive these reports. The final progress report spanning the eighteen (18) weeks of the census can be seen in Appendix 4. A summary of the enumeration exercise is shown in Appendix 3.2 (Summary of total EDs, HHs, Bldgs., No Contact by Zone).

The completion of other control forms – questionnaire movement and receipt and submission of forms and other documents was not strictly observed.

Organisation Structure

Field Staff

The field personnel comprised 8 Zone Coordinators, 103 Technical Area Supervisors, 542Field Supervisors, 288 Field Editors and Enumerators totalling approximately 2557 persons. The following Chart shows how the management of the enumeration was organized:

Method of Collection

Face to face interviews – Authorised enumerators visited each household and administered the census questionnaire.

Online – Close to the end of the census period, households who were not visited were given the option to complete the questionnaire on line. Several persons chose that option.

Telephone interviews – Several persons called the Census Unit and indicated that they would like to have a telephone interview.

Self Enumeration- A few respondents opted to download the census questionnaire or request a copy from the Census Unit to complete themselves. These were hand delivered to the Office.

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