The Provocation: Dinosaurs
Experiences in the 1970s, in Kenya, India and Sri Lanka, sparked critiques of the use of large-scale multi-subject questionnaires (the dinosaurs) for rural research. They were ponderous, costly and vulnerable to many errors. Of these, investigator effects appeared as serious as they were overlooked. Such surveys placed heavy burdens on researchers whom they trapped and enslaved. And even with the best efforts they tended to generate data that were bad, unusable and unused. All data are artefacts, or fabricata, but those from large-scale multi-subject questionnaires especially so through their preset categories and structured interactions.