July 28, 2009

CRRC Presents the Data Initiative 2008 Survey

Yerevan, Armenia. On July 28th (at 11:00 AM in the Picasso hall of the Congress Hotel, 1 Italy Street) CRRC presented results from their esteemed Data Initiative (DI) 2008 survey, which represents the 5th wave of information gathered from over 6000 households randomly selected in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

The CRRC DI survey provides a unique opportunity to follow the socioeconomic, demographic and political developments during the last 5 years. The original dataset allows analysts to make parallels between the three countries of the South Caucasus and the developments between rural and urban areas within each country.

The survey provides an economic cross section of all three countries, revealing changes resulting from the impending Financial Crisis. Though about 57% of respondents would describe current economic situation of their household compared to others around as fair, 30% stated that they do not have enough money for food (15% in Azerbaijan and 22% in Georgia), and another 37% (33% and 39%, respectively) - enough for food, but not for cloths. The share of households in Armenia that are able to afford expensive durables and anything wanted is 5% only (10% in Azerbaijan and 7%-in Georgia).

Most survey respondents (70%) in Armenia consider the government like a parent that should take care of people, while 48% of Georgian respondents agree with the statement Government is like an employee; the people should be the bosses who control the government. Questions regarding national politics reveal diverging perceptions and opinions of the general public. Though political turmoil seems prevalent, the survey revealed that half of the respondents in Armenia say they are “not interested” or “hardly interested” in national politics. Moreover, only 24% claimed that national politics was going in the wrong direction, whereas 30% felt it was going in the right direction. Another surprising find is that in general more Armenians trust the president (49%) than they do the National Assembly (25%) or government (38%). In addition, the level of trust toward almost all the social and political institutions in 2008 was higher than a year ago.

Meantime the answers on questions to measure the social capital clearly indicated that the social networks are becoming weaker: a sizable third of respondents experiences general sense of emptiness, 80% miss having people around, each forth respondent often feels rejected. If there is a chance, 17% of respondents would leave Armenia forever to live somewhere else; 48% of respondents would leave the country for a certain period of time.

The CRRC DI survey databases and the supporting documents are freely available for all those interested in in-depth analysis and in advancing social research and public policy at http://www.crrccenters.org/.

Freedom of Expression and Censorship in Armenia

As a part of the Eurasia Partnership Foundation "Freedom of Expression and Censorship in Armenia" project a qualitative sociological research on perceptions of Armenian society has been carried out in Yerevan and three regions of Armenia, through focus group and in-depth interviews. On July 27, 2009 Gayane Ghazaryan presented the main findings of the research at CRRC-Armenia premises.

July 15, 2009

Corruption in Armenia: Public Opinion, Behavior and Expectations

Within the USAID MAAC Activity to enlighten youth and adults on the issue of corruption in Armenia, another presentation on findings from the 2008 Armenia Household Corruption Survey was conducted by Heghine Manasyan in Armavir in partnership with Armavir Development Center NGO on June 14, 2009.

July 9, 2009

Announcing New Fellowship | UC Berkeley Scholars Workshop

The Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ISEEES) at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), in collaboration with the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), is soliciting proposals from scholars in the Social Sciences and History from Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia to participate in a two-week workshop at UCB from November 7 to November 21, 2009. The workshop is funded by a generous grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

A total of four scholars from the South Caucasus (“Carnegie Fellows”) will be brought to UCB for an intensive review of the key literature, theoretical approaches, and methods employed in a particular field of scholarship. Each Carnegie Fellow will work with a paired UCB faculty member and graduate student with knowledge of the Carnegie Fellow’s field theme to develop undergraduate and graduate syllabi and teaching materials, explore innovative teaching and research techniques and technologies, and prepare a literature review for use by other Carnegie Fellows and scholars from the South Caucasus. The language of the workshop will be English.

Airfare, hotel, and meal expenses will be paid for by ISEEES. In addition, ISEEES will either pay for or reimburse each Carnegie Scholar for up to $600 in expenses relating to purchasing, copying, and posting teaching materials. ISEEES will provide letters of invitation, but each Carnegie Fellow will be responsible for obtaining a US visa with assistance from the local CRRC offices in Baku, Tbilisi, and Yerevan.

Who is eligible to participate?

• Citizens of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia
• Scholars who hold a "Kandidatskaya" degree or higher
• Scholars who have a level of proficiency in written and spoken English that is sufficient to conduct independent research and engage in a debate.

How to apply/documents to submit

• Completed application form
• Statement of purpose, explaining the applicant’s research and teaching experience and future plans (not exceeding 3 pages)
• Sample of scholarly research (not exceeding 10 pages)
• Curriculum Vitae

Application forms can be found at CRRC website. The website also has a detailed description of the purpose and design of the workshop. Applicants should be sure to read the Program Description to ensure that they are familiar with the design and requirements of the program.

Applications should be submitted via email to applications@crrccenters.org no later than September 11, 2009.

July 3, 2009

Data Quality Issues and Fixes

Fritz Scheuren, a professor at the University of Chicago and president of the American Statistical Association, presented a well-received lecture at CRRC-Armenia to an audience of students, lecturers, statisticians and other members of the sociology community in Yerevan on June 3, 2009.

His lecture highlighted some of the main problems and challenges in assessing data quality, in particular data repair. His explanations illustrated some of the steps and precautions that organizations, such as CRRC, must take into consideration when assessing the outcomes of their surveys.

Dr. Scheuren’s associate, Ali Mushtak, provided a further explanation of the important statistical method of raking data. This application of data allows for the matching to previous known data, while at the same time not sacrificing the information quality or achieved proportions.
The lecture was well received by members of the Armenian sociological and statistical community, who applauded Dr. Scheuren and Mushtak for their insightful contributions to survey data quality. Dr. Scheuren in turn applauded the Armenian experts for the high standards they had set in their assessment of data quality thus far, creating a precedent for statistical excellence.

2008 Armenia Corruption Survey of Households Report

2008 Armenia Corruption Survey of Households report highlights the main findings of USAID MAAC Activity Corruption Survey of Households. The report includes survey & sample methodology, opinions on general situation in Armenia, perceptions of corruption, personal experience with corruption and awareness of anti-corruption initiatives.

The report is available for download in English and Armenian at CRRC-Armenia website.

July 2, 2009

Erasmus Mundus Programme Students Visit CRRC-Armenia

Erasmus Mundus Programme students from various countries, including Italy, Greece, Bulgary, Georgia, Latvia, were introduced to the resources at the CRRC-Armenia office during their tour at Yerevan State University on July 1, 2009. The delegation, headed by Erasmus Mundus ECW Lot 5 Coordinator, Tania Kapiki and Head of Chair of Mathematical Modeling in Economics, YSU, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor Aram Arakelyan, is also planning to visit to universities in the region, such as Gavar State University and Gyumri State Pedagogical Institute and industrial centers of Gyumri. The programme's aim is to enhance the quality of European higher education by fostering co-operation with the wider world and promoting intercultural understanding.