Questions to Ask for a Major Report from the Developing World

Most people who write reports about their projects in the developing world rely heavily on field staff to provide information. Often, however, field staff aren't expert report writers, and struggle to provide meaningful, timely information in a coherent written form. These staff members can get bogged down in jargon, feel overwhelmed at meeting reporting requirements, and be reluctant to report information they feel reflects negatively on their performance.

Many report writers get around these obstacles by interviewing field staff about their work, so that needed information is provided through answers to questions. Such interviews, with standardized questions, not only gather the information needed for major reports, they can also build the capacity of field staff to provide written information themselves. Interviews can be done face-to-face, via phone or via email.

Here is a list of questions I used to interview staff at an initiative in Afghanistan that was focused on rural projects. I based these questions on

These questions were provided in writing for staff to use when they wrote reports, but we also used them in interviewing staff verbally, as we found that many staff felt more comfortable talking than writing.


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