The People's Survey 2007 is an essential tool which RAMSI and the Solomon Islands Government can use to measure the performance of RAMSI against its objectives.

Speaking at yesterday's launch of the survey, one of the interviewers, Osborne Cairns said the independent annual survey seeks to find out public opinion on developmental and social issues related to the work of RAMSI in the country.

Mr. Cairns' involvement as a supervisor placed him with the responsibility of leading teams and to ensure all questionnaires are correctly filled out.

His other job as a coder requires him to transcribe written responses into coded numbers while as a data entry officer, "I basically enter raw data into a computer".

The survey was conducted with the assistance of the Solomon Islands National Statistics Office who provided advice on sampling, mapping, logistics, translation and printing of questionnaires for the survey.

Mr. Cairns said a lot of work went into making sure the survey accurately captured the opinions of Solomon Islanders, which started with a week-long training.

"Over a hundred participants turned up for the training, but since only 85 interviewers were required, three short tests were given at the end of the training and the number was trimmed to the required 85," he said.

"To prepare the path for the field work, liaison officers were appointed to go before survey teams and liaise with village and community leaders and elders to explain to communities the purpose of the survey."

Mr Cairns said that before asking any of the questions, the interviewers would always explain the purpose of the visit and assure participants that all answers would be kept confidential.

He said the participation of communities in the survey as a respondent was purely voluntary.

"After we talked with people in villages about how the survey was independent and that their names wouldn't be disclosed, they were happy to be interviewed and give their views," Mr Cairns said.

He explained that the questionnaire for the 2007 people's survey is mostly pre-coded, which "is not intended to influence the respondent's answer."

"I cannot deny the fact that the job we did was very challenging. The nature of the challenges we face out in the field vary in each setting where the survey was conducted," Mr. Cairns said.