SENS Steps

Conducting a survey is a thorough process, which has six essential steps. These are:


When planning a survey, all relevant information is gathered about the population to be surveyed. The next stage is to define what the survey seeks to find out and to agree on which section of the population to survey.

Organisations wishing to conduct a SENS should communicate with local leadership groups and refugee representatives, and agree on the purpose and timing of the survey, as well as how the survey will be coordinated and conducted.

Once this plan is in place, the resources needed for the survey need to be mobilised and the questionnaires included in the SENS modules adapted to suit the local context.

A lot goes into organising a SENS, and the process is not without its challenges. For example, often surveys are delayed because equipment is not ready on time. Equipment needs to be organized well ahead of the scheduled survey.


After the methodology and questionnaires are prepared and local adaptations have been made, survey teams are trained to collect this data, take the measurements, conduct interviews, record observations and select the households following protocols. All procedures and questionnaires need to be tested in the field before the start of data collection.


During data collection, surveyors work in teams of 4-5 people. The teams are supported by the survey manager and survey supervisors who also verify the quality of collected data on a daily basis.


If data has not been collected using mobile phones, it must be entered into the recommended computer software. Data entry should preferably be done in parallel with data collection, rather than at the end of all fieldwork.


Before the analysis, the data must be reviewed. Data should be analyzed using ENA for SMART and Epi Info software.


After the data has been thoroughly collected, verified, and analyzed, the survey manager writes the report. The report contains the survey’s comprehensive results and recommendations, and is communicated to the relevant, appropriate people for action on those recommendations.

A SENS report includes information on the following data:

  • Key Household Demographic characteristics
  • Levels of malnutrition and key health indicators in children
  • Levels of anaemia in women and children
  • Feeding practices of infants and young children
  • Access to and use of food at the household level
  • Negative coping strategies of households
  • Access to and use of mosquito nets
  • Access to safe drinking water and toilets, and hygiene 
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