Surveys ask specific questions and tend to include short answers. They don't have to be too formal or elaborate, but can offer valuable insights. While surveys can be done online, through the mail and filled out in person, many times the most effective way to conduct a survey is through an in-person interview so the surveyor can make a personal connection with the respondent. Surveys are helpful for getting quantitative information like numbers than they are for getting qualitative information, like people's stories.
For more information on how to conduct a community survey check on the Nabz-Iran e-learning course on service delivery.
No matter what the goal of the budget monitoring initiative is, groups must identify and develop the appropriate tools for their initiative. A community survey is a great way to learn what members of your community want or need.
During a budget monitoring initiative, groups have created monitoring forms for citizens to fill out during budget meetings. Groups have used interview forms and questionnaires to collect information on citizen budget priorities and perspectives on the quality of service delivery to support both budget monitoring and advocacy initiatives. Investment tables have been used to track the expenditures on public projects and service delivery. For tools and documents to use in your budget monitoring projects check out Political Process Monitoring: Activist Tools and Techniques, "Participatory Budgeting/Budget Monitoring/Expenditure Tracking Tools", pgs. 21-43).
At the same time as you are developing your monitoring initiative, you will also want to consider the different ways you will use your information collected for action.
- Is your goal to raise public awareness or are you seeking evidence to incorporate into a budget advocacy campaign?
- While your initiative may include a variety of action items, considering your action items first will help you prepare the appropriate data collection tools so that the data is most useful for your action items.
A sample of these types of tools, as well as examples of how to turn these tools into action can be found in this resource section. Because each budget monitoring initiative is unique, your tools and materials will need to be tailored to the specifics of your country and individual project. Use these tools and resource as a guide as you develop your specific tool.