Research Methods and Data Sources

  • Naoko Horii
Part of the Demographic Transformation and Socio-Economic Development book series (DTSD, volume 12)


This book had an ambitious plan to bring about insights and in-depth understanding of how best we could exploit already existing datasets of population-based surveys to respond to questions remained often unanswered: what really worked and what did not work to make a change for the better at the end of a field-based project and why. The author referred to an example of a program evaluation in child healthcare promotion. The surveys used for analysis drew on individual interviews with mothers about what they did in the months preceding the interview. It is true that this retrospective approach did not provide the most accurate information when looking into causal relations between the outcome, which was initiating or not breastfeeding within the 1st hour of birth, and influencing factors either negative if preventing this practice or positive if encouraging such practice. Epidemiologists may argue a scientific shortfall in the study design given that the surveys were retrospective cross-sectional studies preceded by program interventions and not a trial based on a prospective study to test new interventions. Hence secondary analysis based on these surveys could not dissociate reasons explaining behavior change of the study populations from other unrelated factors. Despite the above criticisms and counterarguments, the author opted for taking a careful look at these databases to run exhaustive statistical analysis to conduct program evaluations. The question such as what was meaningful in using retrospective surveys has been carefully thought over step-by-step as follows:


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Naoko Horii
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent consultant in SBCC-MCH & NutritionIssy les MoulineauxFrance

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