Today is my first time going to the field! (by that, I mean going to work/observe/collect data in rural villages). We drove for two hours East of Thanjavur toward the coast. Why going so far? For a pilot, we need to steer clear from the villages in the study since we might contaminate the actual survey.
We were trying out three games that measured risk aversion, trust, and solidarity today. The main goal was to see if people had trouble understanding the game protocols. We also needed to check how people responded to a group of strangers including three locals, a white and a Chinese (yeh me, but not really) coming in to ask all these questions. Though, in the actual survey, there would be only local surveyors.
There were many concerns we needed to address. The supposedly private decisions were not really private after all. Whenever we went into a house, a ton of curious neighbors popped up from nowhere. There were over ten audience at the first house we went in. We also had to gain trust from respondents so that they took the decision making seriously. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be measuring what we claim to.
Overall, the pilot went quite smoothly. There were some weird patterns that showed up in the response. We still have to figure out why that was the case.
The whole day I managed not to use bathroom at all from 9am-7pm until we got back. Those who know me probably know how hard that is on my weak bladder. A large fraction of rural households in India still have no access to toilets (even if they own cellphones). And this large fraction includes the households in the villages we visited. What do people do without toilet then? I heard some people just do it out in the open. Some might have a hole somewhere in the village area. Either way, I wouldn’t want to try.