Before starting fieldwork, it’s important for the team to take the time to do some higher-level thinking about what the desk review has revealed to date and then document learning, gaps, possible opportunities, and team roles in a field guide.
2.1 Preliminary Analysis of Available Information
While this step could be done individually by team members and later consolidated, we recommend convening the team to jointly discuss and agree on the following:
- What is known—What do we know about the context? What have we gleaned from the literature? And what has the secondary analysis revealed?
- Emerging themes and opportunities—Keeping in mind the objectives of the assessment, what trends and issues are emerging? Do you see any opportunities for the private health sector?
- Gaps and questions—What remains to be discovered, verified, and addressed during fieldwork? Which team members are best positioned to gather this information?
The output of this session can be summarized in a Word document or in a PowerPoint presentation, and should focus on key themes.
2.2 Preparing the Field Guide
Next, the team coordinator leads the preparation of the field guide (sometimes referred to as a ”zero draft“), which summarizes the data gathered during the desk review and key issues emerging from the team discussion, and includes a detailed outline of the report with each section assigned to a specific team member. The field guide could take the form of a detailed matrix, annotated outline, or draft report. The key is to consolidate what is known about the private health sector, and identify gaps to address during the field research.
All team members should review the field guide prior to conducting fieldwork. It is key because it provides a big-picture view of the assessment, a common vision of who needs to do what during the in-country visit, and a shared framework for the final report. This helps the team:
- Focus on conducting and processing key informant interviews.
- Pinpoint emerging issues that can be explored by tailoring and aligning stakeholder interview questions.
- Coordinate work—who is responsible for what? How will we collect missing information? (Etc.)
- Prepare for the analysis phase.
- Start writing the report—the summary can be used to develop the background section and the outline provides an excellent overview of who is responsible for each module.
TAKE NOTE ► Setting expectations and deadlines early on in the process, and scheduling a team meeting to engage in higher-level thinking prior to departure, can ensure timely preparation well in advance of the fieldwork. Advance preparation is key to a successful assessment!