A Reflection on Intercept Survey Use in Thailand: Some Cultural Considerations for Transnational Studies

Chanchai Phonthanukitithaworn, Carmine Sellitto
How people respond to research surveys has been of long standing interest to investigators. In this paper, we reflect on our experiences in using the intercept survey as part of a study that examined m-payment in Thailand. The paper does not report the findings of the original m-payment study, but highlights how the cultural features of the target population were an important consideration at the survey translation, pilot testing and data collection stages. We propose that cultural features
more » ... as face-to-face interaction, the intrinsic notion of politeness (Kreng Jai) and conveying respect to potential participants (giving the Wai) as significant elements in achieving a relatively high participation rate. Survey translation occurred via moderated discussions where the cultural dimensions of collectivism and personal status (relevant in high PDI societies) were observed to influence group dynamics. In the field, the intercept survey promoted direct engagement with people (preferred amongst collectivism cultures), with respondents observed to be highly considerate of investigator needs and thus more likely to participate in the study.The paper's contribution is one of highlighting the importance of considering national culture in the initial survey translation stage and later when collecting data in the field. Although a reflective piece, we believe that the findings have the potential to inform and assist researchers to improve the quality of their survey instruments and data responses in similar cultural settings.