Field manual

A comprehensive field manual for the survey provides detailed guidelines for every component, including:

  1. An overview of the survey objectives, sampling and household selection, population groups assessed, team composition, and indicators to be collected.
  2. Data collection processes, data collection forms, consent processes, and interview techniques.
  3. Labeling.
  4. Anthropometry techniques.
  5. Collection methods for biological specimens and food samples.
  6. Specimen and sample processing, referrals (for malaria, severe acute malnutrition or severe anaemia), and cold chain.
  7. Quality control procedures.
  8. Care of equipment and supplies.

The field manual should be developed by the Survey coordinator with input from the Technical committee as soon as the survey protocol is completed and approved. Each member of the field team should have a copy of the manual, which will be used in all stages of training, pilot fieldwork, and data collection. Thorough familiarity with the manual will help ensure a high degree of standardization and consistency across multiple survey teams. Separate manuals for enumerators and phlebotomists/ laboratory technicians might be developed depending on separate roles and responsibilities. Box 11.3 contains a typical table of contents for a manual. See the different survey manuals for examples of field manuals developed for previous national micronutrient surveys.

Box 11.3. Typical table of contents for a micronutrient survey field manual

Module 1: General Information

  • Introduction and background
  • Aims and objectives of the survey
  • Population groups
  • Household enumeration
  • Selection of households
  • Fieldwork logistics
  • Team composition and training
  • Roles and responsibilities of staff for the survey
  • Protocol for data collection in the household
  • Informed consent process
  • Data entry and analysis
  • Supervision

Module 2: Interviewing

  • Consent process, interview techniques
  • Completion of the questionnaire
  • Recording responses, writing numbers
  • Correcting mistakes
  • Detailed instructions for questionnaire modules
  • Visit schedules
  • Editing and checking
  • Referral procedures

Module 3: Biological specimen collection

  • Consent process
  • Universal precautions
  • Cold chain logistics
  • Laboratory personnel
  • Labeling
  • Preparing for fieldwork and specimen collection procedures in the household
  • Transportation of specimens from the field to district or central laboratories
  • Specimen processing and storage
  • Quality control
  • Packaging and shipping

Module 4: Food specimen collection

  • Consent process
  • Collection and labeling
  • Specimen processing and storage
  • Quality control
  • Replacement

Module 5: Anthropometry

  • Consent process
  • Measuring children under 24 months of age
  • Measuring children 24 months of age or older
  • Measuring adults
  • Calibrating equipment
  • Anthropometry standardization
  • Tips for successful measurements