Latin America & the Caribbean is a vast area that spreads from Mexico to the islands that make up the Caribbean and throughout South America. The region is characterized by a relatively young and urban population, with 80% of the population living in cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and Lima. While countries such as Brazil have shown promising economic growth, recent political and social turmoil has led to slower growth rates in the past few years.
In Venezuela, political unrest and violence have created an acute humanitarian crisis with high numbers of the population fleeing to neighboring countries. Additionally, Latin America is at risk for natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes that could hurt fragile economies. Areas of promise in the region include a growing tourism industry and an increase in funding from venture capital. Growing levels of mobile and smartphone penetration also contribute to economic growth and increased connectivity in the region; It is expected that by 2025 73% of the population will have mobile phones, and mobile internet will have a 64% penetration rate.
As economic advisors, investors, and humanitarian organizations keep a close eye on developments in the region, organizations will require research to better understand on-the-ground situations. As with other emerging areas, researching in Latin America presents unique challenges that must be addressed before embarking on a project. In addition to the diversity in dialects and cultures found across the region, certain research methodologies such as online surveys are not as representative in Latin America as they would be in developed countries. Below we outline some of the different methods that can be used to conduct research in Latin America:
In-Person Interviews in Latin America
Latin America has traditionally relied on in-person research, but it can be difficult to reach some groups through face-to-face interviews. The danger of sending interviewers to certain areas makes gathering data from the lower socioeconomic groups challenging. On the opposite end of the spectrum, wealthier populations often live in gated communities or are unwilling to open doors to researchers.
Online Research in Latin America
While internet penetration rates have grown in Latin America, penetration varies by country and also within each country, with wealthier populations having higher rates of access. Additionally, many of those who access the internet do so via their mobile devices. While online research can be conducted in Latin America, researchers must take into consideration the populations they are aiming to reach and ensure that studies are designed to work on mobile screens.
Voice Call or CATI Research in Latin America
The growth of mobile penetration in Latin America has led more researchers to consider voice call interviews, often administered through Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing or CATI applications. CATI research can reach populations even when security threats are present, and allows for illiterate populations to be interviewed. Due to the number of regional dialects and differing cultural contexts within Latin America, CATI research should be done by specially recruited and trained interviewers.
SMS or Text Message Research in Latin America
As with CATI research, growing mobile penetration rates can allow for research to be conducted via SMS or text message survey. SMS surveys are shorter in length than those administered through voice call, in-person, or online methods, but can be effective at gathering data quickly from many segments of a population.
Conduct Research in Latin America with GeoPoll
GeoPoll is experienced in conducting research from hard-to-reach populations in emerging regions around the world, including in Latin America. We undertake work in several countries within Latin American and can quickly launch in new markets via several of the methodologies mentioned above. To learn more about GeoPoll’s capabilities and coverage in Latin American, please contact us today.