France Guérin-Pace

INED senior researcher France Guérin-Pace tells us about the survey on changes in Tunisian society that she has been coordinating since 2011.

(Interview conducted in November 2017)

Who conducted the survey and how did it proceed?

The survey was conducted in the framework of the OTMA project on the Arab world (Observatoire des Transformations dans le Monde Arabe), partially funded and organized by INED and the Institut de Recherche sur le Développement (IRD). Interviewers questioned 3,200 respondents, a representative sample of the population living in Tunisia. The survey uses innovative techniques such as answering the questionnaire on Android tablets and GPS-run spatial sampling. The survey was conducted over three months’ time, from September to December 2016. The teams were made up of young researchers in demography and sociology (masters and PhD students) from the humanities and social sciences faculty of Tunis and experienced supervisors and controllers. Interviewers began in the south and centre of the country and gradually moved north.

What kinds of difficulties did the teams have to cope with?

Several kinds. To begin with there were security problems, as some areas are conflict zones. There were also logistic and weather problems. Some of the roads are in poor condition; some of the dwellings are distant from any roads. A few of the districts to be surveyed are in military zones and others turned out to have been deserted by their inhabitants.

What was the aim of the survey?

To apprehend changes that have taken place in Tunisian society since January 2011 and more generally to shed light on recent major changes in the Arab world. The survey questionnaire collected general information on respondents (place of residence, family situation, educational and occupational trajectories), cultural and leisure activities, language practices; also personal convictions and involvement in politics and/or associations.