Step 1: Define what you need to measure and why

Before starting the survey process, you need to know exactly what data you will need and who will use it.

It is best to identify who will use the results of the survey and how and get them involved in the survey right from the start. Usually the list of people will include some of the programme’s operational staff and senior management, and it may include partners or donors. A basic plan for how the results will be used can be agreed with this group at this point – even if it is simply scheduling in a meeting to discuss all the results once they are ready.

The main point of the survey will be to determine which quintiles clients fall into which is important for understanding whether you are reaching the poor and achieving equity. The group should think through and discuss why this information will be useful to decision-making and reporting.

The group may also decide to gather other data using the same client survey. Please keep in mind the following points if you decide to gather additional data with the client survey:

Be strict on how much additional data you gather

The client survey used to gather the wealth index data can also be used to gather other client information – such as age, satisfaction with services, past access to services and so on. You can add questions to the questionnaire to gather the pieces of data that will be most useful to you.

However, we suggest that you are very selective about what additional data you gather. Each extra question means you are taking up more of the respondent’s time and increases the costs of the survey. Having too much data often leads to none of it being used because it is overwhelming. So, if you aren’t sure exactly how the results would be used and if it’s not clear that the data is high priority, then leave it out.

Try to keep the questionnaire as short as possible!

You can find the wealth index questionnaire for your country on the questionnaires page (click here). If you wish to add questions, the questionnaire from the latest DHS survey for your country, which can be found at, contains a lot of questions. You can use these questions as the basis for any questions you wish to add. For example, if you have a question about age, you could first look at the DHS age question and use the same wording and answer options.

Pre-testing the questionnaire: If you do add to the questionnaire, the questionnaire should be pre-tested to ensure that the wording is clear and the sequence of questions does not confuse respondents. The best way to do this is for the survey manager or another team member visit some franchisees and ask some clients for an interview. It is a good idea to do this in pairs, with one person interviewing (using the exact wording in the questionnaire) and the other observing the interview. After each interview, the pair will discuss whether the questionnaire worked well and what needs to be improved.

Important note: The toolkit includes the questionnaire you will need to use to collect wealth index data. You must not change anything about the wealth index questions, no matter what. They must be left exactly as they are, including the question numbers, the order of the questions, the order of the answer options and the numbers assigned to each answer, and all of the questions need to be included.

Sub-groups: You may also decide that you would like to have results about sub-groups of clients – for example you want data about clients from specific regions or you want data about clients in a certain age group. In general, it is much simpler, quicker and cheaper if you don’t try to investigate sub-groups among your clients, and only look for data about the client population as a whole. If you do want to look at sub-groups – please click here.

Step 2: Identify the team that will implement the survey
About this toolkit