Florjan Rojba, Executive Director, Albanian National Association of the Deaf, ANAD
Next, I shall describe our co-operation with our Finnish partners Inkeri Lahtinen from the Finnish Association of the Deaf and researcher Päivi Rainò from Humak University of Applied Sciences as well as the Albanian Institute of Statistics INSTAT.
As the ANAD representative, I discussed the implementation of the survey with the Albanian state admistration and INSTAT. At first, the representatives of INSTAT found the idea of having the survey conducted by a fieldwork team of deaf people almost impossible. However, after we met and discussed things a few times, they eventually understood the importance of utilising deaf people for the survey. There are no employees within INSTAT who know sign language, and if the survey were to be carried out by them, the deaf respondents would not be able to understand the questions posed in spoken language. If the questions were presented in sign language by deaf people and communicated visually, however, they would be fully understood by the respondents, which means that the answers they would provide would also be carefully considered. It would be completely impossible for hearing people to use spoken language to conduct a survey on deaf people, in particular due to linguistic barriers.
Once we had agreed on the survey method, we went through the questions with our Finnish partners and INSTAT, who then gave their approval to the questions. We had now reached an understanding on implementation of the survey as well as the survey itself.
But how would INSTAT be able to select the people to be interviewed for the survey from their databases based on the 2011? We solved this issue by disclosing the entirety of ANAD’s membership to INSTAT. Based on the membership list, they would be able to select and suggest a statistically representative sample group for each geographical area. – In earlier negotiations, we had suggested that the number of interviewees should be about a hundred people, however, the INSTAT representatives considered this too small a group in terms of representativeness and suggested increasing the number of interviewees to 400–500 people.
It was clear to us that this would increase the time spent collecting the data and the amount of work.
After INSTAT had gone through our membership and compared it with their own database, they constituted that we should aim at interviewing 522 people, with a 25% deviation at most. We settled on aiming to reach at least 437 people. I forwarded INSTAT’s suggestion to our team of nine interviewers. We went through the goals for each region once again and reviewed the survey principles and methods and the questions recorded on video and in the electronic survey form.
My cooperation with the National Institute of Statistics proved productive. It was important for them to see and understand why we need deaf people specifically to carry out this kind of research: Only the deaf themselves are able to make themselves understood as well as to understand as perfectly as possible those respondents who use sign language, as opposed to hearing researchers who use spoken language. We had now also received approval for our suggested method from the National Institute of Statistics, and so the team of interviewers could head out to the field on the mandate received from INSTAT.