Collecting Community Histories to Study the Determinants of Demographic Behaviour

A Survey in Burkina Faso
By Bruno Schoumaker, Hubert Bonayi Dabire, Bilampoa Gnoumou-Thiombiano, Julia Key


This article presents a retrospective survey of localities, designed to be linked to an event history survey of individuals focusing on migration in Burkina Faso. During the survey, carried out in 2002, data on around ten broad topics were collected from respondents in almost 600 localities. After outlining various possible methods for collecting community data to study migration, the article considers a number of issues in turn: selection of the survey localities, organization of the survey, and data collection methods. The final part summarizes the results of several studies based on this data, and gives a brief outline of ongoing projects. One of the conclusions drawn is that the approach taken is a cost-effective means of collecting, within a reasonable timeframe, a wealth of high-quality community data for multi-level longitudinal analyses of demographic behaviour.

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