Skip to Main Navigation

Country Opinion Survey Program

Select a EDS Sub navigation page selecting option, leaving this page

Survey Methodology

Country Opinion Surveys (COS) are administered each year in borrowing countries on a rotating basis. The countries that are chosen for a survey each year are selected based on the following criteria: a country is due for a survey on a standard three-year survey cycle; or a country is off cycle, but there is a business need for a survey to inform country strategy. Participation of all countries in a COS is vetted by each country’s Director.  

Business Intelligence (BI) Team, department of External and Corporate Relations, oversees the implementation of the surveys in close collaboration with the communications and operations staff in country offices.

Who conducts the surveys:

To undertake the survey, the BI team contracts a local private market research or consulting company. Each company is selected by the WBG’s country office staff, based on a standard project Terms of Reference (TOR) and following the WBG’s procurement protocols. The consulting company distributes the questionnaires, conducts a proper follow-up with respondents in order to optimize response rates, and collects the completed paper survey forms from respondents. All completed paper surveys are then delivered to the local country office and from there pouched to the WBG’s headquarters, where the BI team performs data entry and analysis. 

Who is surveyed:

The initial list of respondents is collected by the survey coordinators in each country within the WBG: different operational task teams provide names and contacts of their stakeholders and project counterparts, and communications and engagement teams also contribute names to the list. In addition, as part of its TOR, the local company is also asked to contribute up to 20% of contacts of potential respondents, mainly outside of the government, to the Bank’s stakeholder database. 

The name collection process is guided by a standardized sample composition, where each stakeholder group is assigned a recommended proportion. The standardized sample composition was created with a goal of obtaining balanced samples that would allow to capture not only the views of the WBG’s traditional counterparts—government officials (national, regional, or local) and employees of state-owned enterprises, but also views of the private sector, nongovernment organizations, religious and youth groups, members of the academia, media, and of other organizations working in development in various regions of the country. The final list of potential stakeholders can have anywhere between 300-1,000 names, depending on each country’s program size.

While the proportions outlined in the standardized sample are recommended, there may be natural variability in each country’s pool of stakeholders, and the final samples may vary slightly from country to country, with different groups having larger or smaller shares, depending on the program and engagement on the ground.  

Survey instrument:

The survey instrument is designed to elicit the perceptions and attitudes among the WBG’s stakeholders who are professionals and opinion leaders in the area of development in the surveyed countries. Generally, the survey questions cover the following areas: 1. Opinions on the country’s economy, trust in institutions, and areas where the WBG should focus its resources; 2. Overall perceptions of the WBG’s effectiveness and impact; 3. Stakeholder needs from the WBG; 4. WBG effectiveness in fulfilling stakeholder needs; 5. Recommendations to further increase WBG’s perceived value; 6. Preferred communication channels and, most recently, message recall. 

There are two types of questions asked in the survey: indicators that are tracked across years, and elective questions that country teams choose to include in the questionnaire. The wording and scales of the indicator questions stay the same for comparability, while country-specific questions may vary from country to country.

While at the outset of this project, most surveys were conducted on paper, more recently, a combination of survey modes have been used, with some countries implementing surveys in the online-only mode. In each country, we ask the local consulting company to come up with the most efficient and cost-effective ways to distributing and collecting the surveys (i.e., post, courier, telephone, online etc.).