TNRC Guide | Researching Social Norms and Behaviors Related to Corruption Affecting Conservation Outcomes - Part 1

Researching Social Norms and Behaviors Related to Corruption Affecting Conservation outcomes

Research Guide Part I: Baseline Data & Formative Assessment

This TNRC Guide shares practical knowledge for program designers and implementers to reduce corruption’s impact on conservation. It is Part I of a two-part series.





Environmental Investigation Agency




Illegal Wildlife Trade


Natural Resource Managers


Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development


Social Norms and Behavior Change


Targeting Natural Resource Corruption


U4 Anti-corruption Resource Centre at the Chr. Michelsen Institute


United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime


United States Agency for International Development





Impediments (perceived or actual) to behavior change – for example, peer pressure to conform to rejecting the proposed change


Key values determined before the start of an initiative, to provide an anchor point against which progress can then be measured

Behavioral journey mapping

Identifying (and then visualizing) how a current behavior within an individual or target audience has changed over time


Incentives (not necessarily solely fiscal) for behavior change

Big data analysis

Answering social science research questions using amounts of digital data (like social media engagement or digital transactions) so large as to require specific techniques (like machine learning algorithms) (Foster et al. 2021)

Causal factors

Factors that cause corruption to occur – for example, inadequate pay amongst police and border control guards, or others with power


Where professionals and citizens share power to design, plan, assess and deliver an initiative together, and ensure mutual interests are met

Computer Assisted Telephone Interview

A process whereby a computer selects and calls a range of telephone numbers, in order to engage respondents in a survey/questionnaire

Context analysis

A method used to analyze and visualize the “ecosystem” in which corruption occurs, or an organization or initiative operates


The misuse of entrusted power for private gain

Critical discourse analysis

A qualitative analytical approach for describing, interpreting, and explaining the meaning of language in the context in which it is used, rather than just considering the words and grammar involved


Occurring in a planned and pre-empted way

Dipstick surveys

A one-time poll that asks open-ended questions to solicit opinions, usually focused on a single issue of research interest

Direct observation

A method of collecting information in which the evaluator watches the subject in their usual environment without altering it


An opportunistic approach to gathering information from people in their homes, without notifying them in advance


An internal or external pressure that shapes change – for example, inadequate or poor salaries of rangers which require some form of supplementary income, or an established workplace culture or expectation of bribe taking


Moral principles that govern behavior or the conduct of an activity


The study of the culture and social organization of a particular group

Facilitating factors

Factors facilitating corrupt behaviors, for example, poor oversight of enforcement officers working at borders or checkpoints known to be associated with high volumes of wildlife trafficking

Focus Group

A group interview involving a small number of demographically similar people or participants who have other common traits/ experiences

Formative Insight

Information that informs the design / focus on an initiative

Human Centered Design

A problem-solving technique with people at the center of the process


A value (often numeric) that indicates the state or level of something

Indirect methods

Gathering information through means other than direct observation


Factors inhibiting corrupt behaviors, for example, fully automated CITES “e-permitting” systems which remove the potential for document fraud

Mixed methods

Combining several research methods to ensure accurate results

Online survey

Internet-based questionnaires and/or polls


Only occurring when the opportunity arises

Primary research

A process of research that involves gathering data that has not been gathered before

Qualitative research

The process of collecting and analyzing non-numerical data

Quantitative research

The process of collecting and analyzing numerical data

Representative data

A small number of people who reflect a more extensive group

Sampling processes

Selecting the group to collect data from in research

Secondary research

Research that involves drawing together a range of existing data


A process of data analysis to identify a priority segment of the sample to target with subsequent SNBC approaches

Semi-structured In-Depth Interview (IDI)

A 1:1 fluid discussion centered around several open-ended questions

Social desirability bias

The tendency to answer questions in a manner that will be viewed favorably by others and/or to hide the truth if it is socially “unacceptable”

Social listening

The process of using keywords to assess what is being said about a company, individual, product, or brand, on the internet

Solution scanning

A stepwise methodology to identify a set of actions, interventions, or approaches that respond to a specific challenge


Using short stories about a hypothetical person to gain truthful insight

Orientation and overview

Corruption behaviors are complex, so research to identify ways to address them can be challenging (Schwickerath, Varraich, and Smith 2017). A hypothetical example illustrates the point: Anti-corruption practitioners interested in reducing bribery at border checkpoints known for high volumes of illegal timber trade need to understand where best to invest resources to achieve meaningful impact. Options could include interventions that reduce social expectations and community tolerance of giving bribes, initiatives that promote changed behavior by appealing to professionalism and codes of conduct among potential bribe takers, or interventions that encourage or embolden potential bribe givers not to give money when requested. Each of these responses to a corruption problem focuses on different actors and seeks to influence different social norms (SN) that might motivate a behavior change (BC).

Not every corruption problem may be right for such SNBC approaches, of course, and alternatives or accompaniments could include more transparency, increased scrutiny and oversight, or the introduction of technology (Mgaza 2022). Identifying whether to use SNBC or these more “structural” amendments, and if SNBC is chosen, then where, how, and with whom to engage, will depend on multiple factors. These might include prevailing practices of bribing enforcement officials, along with contextual factors that might influence the demand for bribes (such as low salaries, few rewards or other incentives for better professional standards, or a lack of recognition or pride for protecting community resources and stopping illegal wildlife trade), and the perception of personal risk among community members interested in combatting corruption.

This Resource Guide introduces some foundational principles and common considerations for research into conservation-focused anti-corruption actions, complementing a companion Guide on project monitoring and impact evaluation. The Guide is not a manual; authoritative material like the “Manual on Corruption Surveys” (UNODC 2018) is already available to support anti-corruption research.

Instead, this Guide introduces three “packages” of research that introduce non-specialists to some of the relevant core approaches and methods for assessing whether, when and how social norms might be targeted to address corrupt behaviors. When combined, the packages provide quantitative measures for pivotal values – e.g., social tolerance of and attitudes towards corruption, or the percent of a sample who have paid a bribe – against which progress with anti-corruption actions can later be measured (the “baseline”). The arising data will also provide qualitative information to help guide choices around the SNBC strategies to adopt (“formative” insight).

Figure 1. Forms of corruption and different actors evident in illegal wildlife trade

From: Baez Camargo and Burgess 2022

Overarching principles

As corrupt practices are by their nature sensitive and usually illegal, some overarching principles should be considered when conducting related SNBC research. The principles currently available in the official CITES Guidance on Strategies to Reduce Demand for Illegal Wildlife Products might be considered and applied to research on corruption facilitating IWT as well. The aim of such principles would be to mitigate any risks and deliver reliable, robust, quality insights that can inform the decisions of relevant authorities.

Building on Economic and Social Research Council guidance, principles include the following:

  1. Research should aim to maximize conservation benefits and minimize personal risks. Those conducting research into sensitive or illegal behaviors should have comprehensive safeguards and risk mitigation strategies in place. Inexperienced researchers could expose themselves and their subjects to risk (Nature 2022).
  2. The rights and dignity of individuals and groups should be respected (Nature 2022).
  3. Participation should be voluntary and informed. Respondents should be aware of how the information they are providing will be used and should participate freely and without coercion.
  4. Research should be conducted with integrity and transparency. For example, questions should be framed in a fully neutral way, and should not lead the respondent to answer in a certain way (like unintentionally leading respondents to agree with the researcher’s expectations).
  5. Independence of research should be maintained. A clear separation must be maintained between people conducting the research and those who are the subjects of it. Otherwise, conflicts of interest could compromise results. Where conflicts of interest cannot be avoided, they should be disclosed and managed.

For those interested in understanding more about these topics or seeking more detailed guidance on how to approach research relevant to corruption, in addition to the UNODC Manual, useful materials include:

Research packages

The rest of this Guide introduces the three research packages that can be employed to generate baseline data and formative insight. Each package focuses on information relevant to a point in time: The first to what has happened in the past; the second to what is happening “now;” and the third to what might happen in the future. To ensure anti-corruption actions are appropriately informed, all three packages should be undertaken as far as possible. For those with limited time or resources, however, not all methods listed for each package are compulsory. The comparative merit of each method is considered further in subsequent sections, while a summary is provided in Table 1:

Table 1. Summary of research packages



Points of insight

Relevant methods


Gain insight into what has happened in the past:

Characterizing the types of corruption that have been evident, their scale and role enabling/facilitating IWT.

Understanding past drivers for and normative pressures around corrupt acts, and the people that have engaged in them.

Identifying any actions undertaken to date to address corruption, what these achieved and why.

Overview of what type of, and how much, corruption has occurred, where, how, why, and with what impact.

Past public attitudes towards, and tolerance of, corruption behaviors, including data from the use of “hotlines,” and other mechanisms for reporting corruption and related issues.

Insight into what has been done to combat corruption behaviors before and what this achieved; success factors or lessons learned that can guide future efforts.

Secondary research:

Desk-based studies reviewing any relevant published reports or social research studies as well as news items.

Examples include specialist assessments (such as those conducted by EIA, OECD, World Bank, USAID, U4, UNODC) as well as regional Corruption Barometer reports, the Global Corruption Perception Index, news items, and/or relevant technical reports.


Gain insight into what is happening now:

What types of corruption are occurring now; by whom, where, why, how, to what extent, and for what purpose.

What corrupt actors ‘think,” ‘believe,” “feel,” and “do”; what influences them in the moment; whether their actions are opportunistic or deterministic; how their behaviors have been shaped or changed over time (Scharbatke-Church and Nash 2022).

Crystallize the specific corruption behavior and audience to target with SNBC activities.

Baseline of frequency of current behavior/prevalence amongst the target audience, and a statistically significant sample of society.

Drivers and facilitators of, and any barriers and benefits (as perceived by the target audience) for, “good” and “bad” behaviors.

Primary research:

Online surveys, focus groups, semi-structured interviews, vignettes.

Social listening techniques, critical discourse analysis, and potentially big data analysis.

Systematic observation / ethnographic techniques.

Context or situation analysis; behavioral journey mapping, solution scans.


Gain insight into what might happen in the future:

Pre-testing SNBC approaches, key visuals, and creative assets.

Ensure the strategies, tactics and approaches proposed resonate with, and will be influential with, the target audience.

Primary research:

Focus groups.

Pilot or demonstration projects with a sample of the target audience.

Package 1

The first research package provides insight into what has happened in the past and largely uses evidence gathered through previous analyses and published literature. Information may also be gleaned from previous attempts to address corruption behaviors and success factors or lessons learned.

The purpose of this package is to understand the historical context for corruption as well as the past prevailing norms and public attitudes surrounding corruption. Important contextual elements include:

  • facilitators (e.g., poor oversight of enforcement officers working at borders) and inhibitors (e.g., fully automated “e-permitting” systems which reduce the potential for document fraud),
  • drivers (e.g., inadequate or poor salaries amongst rangers who require some form of supplementary income, an established workplace culture or expectation of influence peddling among timber extraction companies, or systemic pressures to participate in corruption, such as expectations that subordinates will siphon funds upwards in return for good positions, etc.).

Authoritative datasets likely to be useful for this package include Transparency International’s “Global Corruption Barometer” and the Public Integrity and Transparency components of the Corruption Risk Forecast. TRAFFIC has also produced a Case Digest on financial flows behind wildlife and forest crime which may provide useful context. The World Bank also publishes a searchable database of “Worldwide Governance Indicators,” while the OECD provides an accessible portal profiling all corruption data published by country.

Figure 2. OECD's online portal providing all available corruption data by country


Further information may be gained via online research using search engine terms such as the following:

  • Political economy analysis: Identifying the drivers of corruption risks that undermine IWT law enforcement, which could include, for example, prosecutors being bribed to drop cases against those caught poaching or trafficking wild animals (WWF 2020, Grossman et al. 2022).
  • Corruption context analysis: Identifying the context in which corruption occurs. For example, an established norm of gifting to curry favors amongst public officials would help understand instances of gifting illegal wildlife products to peddle influence, acquire corporate concessions, or ignore a suspect shipment (Luna-Pla and Nicolás-Carlock 2020).
  • Politically Exposed Persons (PEP): Those officials and others with political power who might be targets for corruption. For example, decision-makers may be extorted or bribed to provide permits for logging rights in protected areas.
  • Findings of election investigations or election monitoring reports: For example, to identify to what extent a corrupt or “rigged” election process has been claimed by opposition candidates or independent watchdogs, as an indicator of potential malpractice in an incumbent’s term.

Broader searches may yield reported cases of corruption or conviction data. For example, TRAFFIC conducted an analysis of wildlife crime court cases to identify corruption in a judicial process.

Some countries may have nationally representative data about citizens’ views and experiences of corruption. The University of Oxford hosts a “World in Data” site that includes a component on corruption evidence, and academic studies can also offer useful reference points via portals such as ResearchGate. Finally, some financial audit and management accountancy firms also share information focused on corporate corruption. PricewaterhouseCoopers, for example, publishes an annual summary of their “Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey.”

As with all desk-based research processes, it can be challenging to analyze, synthesize, and communicate the key findings. Initiatives like Microsoft’s “Anti-Corruption Technologies and Solutions (ACTS)” can provide data visualization tools that may be useful for those experiencing such challenges.

Package 2

The second research package focuses on primary social research using largely field-based methods. The purpose of this package is to provide insight to target specific behaviors and audiences with anti-corruption interventions, to inform the design of anti-corruption approaches, and to produce a baseline against which progress can later be measured. Key aspects of data to gather through Package 2 could include:




Who specifically is engaging in the corrupt act? For example, who asks for the bribe and who provides it? What are their socio-economic and psycho-demographic characteristics? What are their values, habits, etc.?


What is the specific form of corruption? What are the target behaviors that might affect it? For example, would it be better to focus on empowering the bribe giver to say no or pressing the person asking for the bribe to stop?


Why is the bribe being asked for and/or given? Is it to gain access to a site or resource, get information, avoid a complicated process, or to keep someone quiet, for example?


Where should behavior change initiatives be focused? Is there a particular geography, institution, or location that would have the biggest impact?


When would be the best time to deliver the intervention? Are there particular times of year that represent a “hotspot" for the issue?


What approaches are most likely to deliver behavior change? For example, should campaigns appeal for reduced social tolerance of bribe paying? Or should the interventions try to improve standards with the professional community?

As a practical example, a survey could identify tolerance, expectations and acceptance of corruption among officers who regularly patrol waters where illegal fishing is taking place. A subset of those who report expecting to be offered a bribe might be distinguished. This target audience “segment” and their knowledge, attitudes, and practice can then inform subsequent SNBC initiative design.

Insights gleaned from Package 1 can also inform Package 2. For example, reported cases of corruption and court case tracking may identify a problem in the criminal convictions around wildlife-related offenses. If so, a District Judge or Chief Prosecutor could be invited to participate in an in-depth or “key informant” interview (Scharbatke-Church and Barnard-Webster 2017).

Package 2 would typically be conducted by specialists with risk-mitigation strategies, experience in managing sampling parameters to generate representative and/or statistically significant datasets, and access to a pool of people from which to draw the sample. Such specialists should also have experience in using language, structures, and methods that help to avoid social desirability bias (the tendency for respondents to underreport socially unacceptable behavior and to overreport “good” behavior). Table 2 provides a summary of the various quantitative and qualitative methods that can be employed, considering some “pros” and “cons” of each. Triangulating data emerging from different methods, like using a “mixed methods” approach, is established good practice (Anguera et al. 2020) and can balance strengths and weaknesses of different approaches. Pre-testing the methods is also important.

Table 2. Comparison of social research methods





Dipstick surveys

(A o
ne-time poll [e.g., of park users] that asks open-ended questions to solicit opinions, focused on a single issue)

Cost-effective approach for under-resourced projects. Anonymous responses can be more truthful.

Rapid insights available, especially when comparing a treatment (those who will be exposed to the SNBC initiative) and control group (those not).

Light-touch approach can leave many questions unresolved.

Does not provide as robust a dataset as that usually needed for baselines.

Doorstepping / street surveys
(Opportunistic approach to gathering information from people in their homes or passersby [e.g., in a wildlife market], without notifying them in advance)

Good quality of insight arising from those engaged in the conversation with the surveyor. Broader contextual data may also be gathered indirectly, like where the person lives or works, their friends, etc.

High effort compared to online surveys.

Can be very challenging to get any form of representative or significant data.

More difficult to process, clean, and transfer data gathered through in-situ conversations.

Online questionnaires / Computer Aided Telephone Interviews (CATI)

(Surveys conducted on the internet, or delivered through a randomly selected telephone call, typically taking between 15 and 20 minutes to complete)

Easy to get large datasets, fast. Responses when anonymous will be more truthful.

Provided there is a good internet penetration rate for the population, can also generate representative and statistically significant data.

Easy to segment target audience.

Respondents can complete the research in their own time.

Relatively low-cost compared to other approaches for same data

Relies on high internet penetration or telephone coverage rates, and responses can skew against less tech-savvy populations. Can be challenging to get high response rates on certain issues.

Sampling processes are critical to get right, and individual characteristics can change over time (e.g., rise in disposable income, change in job, etc.)

Typically requires dedicated statistics software packages and a skilled team to process the arising large datasets.


Focus groups

(A group interview involving a small number of demographically similar people or participants who have other common traits/experiences)

In-depth insight gathered from a group within similar sampling parameters, all at one time-bounded session.

New issues can be explored easily (because the conversation will flow easily within the group). People may feel less exposed and therefore more comfortable to discuss their experience of corruption, but there must be trust with other group members.

Transcription easy to manage.

Outlier views or perspectives may be obscured by the consensus. The researcher leading discussion will need to design each group to ensure that all aspects of the community (for example, according to gender, cultural heritage, or other) feel in a “safe” space to be heard.

Potentially time-consuming to convene, and to get the “right” people (i.e., according to the sampling profile chosen) in each group.

Needs a secure physical location, so geographically quite local/bounded.

Semi-structured In-Depth-Interviews (A 1:1 fluid discussion centered around several open-ended questions. Can be with “Key Informants”, i.e., KIIs.)

Respondent has more control over direction of discussion.

Usually yields very high quality and depth of insight.

Time-consuming, and represents the views of individuals rather than collective.

Participants may feel more exposed and thus less able to be truthful. Highly skilled research approach required.

Social listening / critical discourse analysis / Big Data Analysis

Observation-based measures, so results should be solid (dependent on context)

Expensive and usually relies on big data analytic capabilities of technical specialists.

(Using short stories about a hypothetical person to gain truthful insight – can also be used within other methods)

Can increase the veracity and reliability of research findings on sensitive or illegal topics, by removing the pressure on somebody to admit they personally witnessed or participated in a corrupt act.

High levels of skill required amongst moderators. Otherwise, inherent ambiguity of the approach (because the method relies on stories about a hypothetical person) may dilute clarity of results.

As with all forms of primary research with people, it is important that an independent ethics review board or other body has considered, advised on, and approved the proposed approach. This will ensure that regardless of the research method used, the dignity, rights, safety, and well-being of participants are respected, and any risks are mitigated. For example, interviewing junior government officials and asking them to comment on what corrupt practices they have observed among their peers and colleagues could expose research participants to significant personal safety risks or loss of their jobs.

Specialist research agencies will often take responsibility for ensuring an ethics review process, but some academic institutions can also advise. Both the OECD and UNODC have published useful information on how to address ethical considerations in anti-corruption research.

Those interested to know more might read:

Package 3

The third research package also uses primary social research, but this time focused on acquiring qualitative feedback from the target audience through “pre-testing” draft anti-corruption SNBC materials, visuals, and messaging. This stage can also test the legitimacy of the planned SNBC intervention and suggest areas for adaptation or refinement. Figure 3 shows some examples of SNBC materials that were pre-tested before being deployed in a project to reduce the use of rhino horn for corporate gifting in Viet Nam. Further examples will be included in additional resource guides being prepared under the TNRC project.

Figure 3. Examples of messaging aiming to reduce influence peddling

Source: Chi Initiative, TRAFFIC in Viet Nam

Pre-testing is a critical step that must be implemented before any campaign is scaled up and rolled out. Pre-testing helps avoid wasting money on concepts that might be rejected by the target audience, or worse, cause a “rebound effect” where the negative behavior is inadvertently reinforced (Dorner 2019).

Focus groups are the most common research method used to deliver Package 3. Typically, a focus group comprises between 15 and 20 people who are representative of the target audience. They are brought together for 60- 90 minutes and shown the draft concepts, creative approaches, and core messages. The group is then invited to share their “top of mind” reflections, opinions, and feedback. An example process is provided in Annex 3.

Those interested in understanding more on these topics might read:

Annex 1. Example online survey questions for Package 2

These sample questions should serve as examples only and should not be copied and pasted without adaptation. Questions generating data that can be used as an impact indicator for SNBC projects are in red.

All online surveys should be tested by the research team to see how long they take to complete. Surveys that take longer than 20 minutes to complete are unlikely to sustain the interest of respondents, leading to unusable, incomplete results.

There has not been space in this Guide to explain more about sampling processes, but these are especially important in online surveys providing baseline data. Practitioners are therefore encouraged to review resources such as “Sampling Methods for Web and e-Mail Surveys” in “The Sage Handbook of Online Survey Methods” for further information. Additional detail on the various considerations when designing a survey is available in UNODC (2018), and Annex 4 of Towards Transparency’s 2019 Viet Nam Corruption Barometer is an illuminating example.

Part 1: Introducing the purpose of the survey and asking for consent [1]

Thank you for taking the time to consider completing this survey.

My name is XX and I am a researcher working for YY. YY is conducting a survey to understand values and norms for the purpose of X, Y, Z. Your responses are confidential and if used will not be attributed to you, nor identifiable as yours. Your responses will be retained for a period of Z months.

If you are happy to proceed, please sign here and complete Parts 2 and 3, below, thank you.

Part 2: Questions focused on identifying socio-economic data

Q1. What is your given name?

Q2. What is your family name?

Q3. What is your title?

Q4. What gender do you identify with?

Q5. What is your age?

18-25 years old

36-45 years old

56-65 years old

26-35 years old

46-55 years old

Over 66 years old

Q6. What is your religion?




Prefer not to say

*If other, please specify:

Q7. What is your marital status?




Q8. Which of the following bext reflects your level of education?

No formal education

Primary school

Secondary school

Undergraduate degree

Post-graduate degree(s)


*If other, please specify:

Q9. What is your occupation?


Forestry/wildlife conservation







Small business

*If other, please specify:

Q10. What is the monthly level of household income (including any bonuses)?

Up to 100,000 TZS

300,001 – 500,000 TZS

1,000,001 – 2,000,000 TZS

Don’t want to say

100,001-300,000 TZS

500,001-1,000,000 TZS

Over 2,000,000 TZS

Q11. In which district/area do you live?

Q12. How would you describe the area in which you live?





Q13. How many people are in your household?

Q14. How many children do you have?







More than 5

Q15. Do you have dependents?



Prefer not to say

*If yes, how many?

Part 3: Questions around corruption and psycho-demographic data (what the respondent thinks, believes, feels, and does)

Q16. What do you understand by the term corruption?

Q17. Can you think of an example of corruption?

Q18. Have you personally experienced corruption in the past 12 months?



Prefer not to say

*If yes, are you comfortable providing more information about your experiences?

Q19. Do you think corruption is a serious issue in your country?



Prefer not to say

*If yes, how serious?

Somewhat serious

Very serious

Extremely serious

Q20. How socially acceptable do you think corruption is?

Completely rejected

Usually unacceptable

Occassionally accepted



Q21. Do you think corruption is worse in certain sectors of society?



Prefer not to say

*If yes, which sectors?



Civil society


*If other, which?

Q22. What do you think is the main cause of corruption in your country?

Q23. What do you think is the main cause of corruption in your country?

Once a day

Once a month

Just once

Once a week

Rarely - Once every 6 months

Q24. How much do you think the average person typically pays for a bribe?

Q25. What are the most effective things that an ordinary person can do to help combat corruption in your country? Please tick as many as apply.

Refuse to pay bribes, even small ones

Report corruption when they see or experience it

Speak out about the problem, e.g., by calling a radio program or writing to a journalist

Sign a petition asking for a stronger fight against corruption

Join or support an organization that is fighting corruption

Participate in protest marches or demonstrations against corruption

Posting on social media or the internet

Boycott a business which has been found guilty of engaging in corruption

Something else* please explain:

Nothing / ordinary people cannot do anything

Q26. What do you think are the main reasons why people do not report corruption when it occurs? Please tick as many as apply.

People are afraid of the consequences

Corruption is normal / everyone does it / everyone is involved

Nothing will be done / it wouldn’t make a difference

Corruption is difficult to prove / it is hard to show evidence

People benefit from corruption, so they do not report it

People don’t know where to report corruption

Problems will be solved faster when paying bribes so no need to report corruption

People don’t know how to report corruption

Reporting corruption is too expensive

People who are involved are important persons and are untouchable

Something else* please explain:

Q27. How do you feel about the kinds of corruption you experience?

(For example, frightened, vulnerable, angry, awkward, unaffected, ashamed)

Q28. Please indicate how you feel about the following statements


Strongly disagree


Neither agree nor disagree


Strongly agree

Ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption

It is generally acceptable for people to report corruption they witness

I would report a case of corruption even if I would have to spend a few days in court to give evidence

I intend to not pay a bribe or engage in corruption in future

Q29. Would you be prepared to engage in further discussions on this topic?



Thank you for your time.

Annex 2. Example outline for semi-structured in-depth interview for Package 2

This annex provides an example outline a researcher could use for a semi-structured in-depth interview (IDI). The topics below act as prompts to ensure the researcher remembers the key points to probe as the discussion progresses and different themes emerge. If several IDIs are being conducted, then the topic outline can be adapted over time to clarify certain topics or (de)emphasize specific themes.

Typically, the IDI would be conducted 1:1 between the researcher and respondent, for approximately an hour, either face-to-face or online through a platform offering privacy such as Zoom or MS Teams. The topic outline is usually only an internal reference for the researcher, but could in principle be shared in advance with the interviewee to help them prepare. More information about how to run IDIs and similar processes is also available in UNODC 2018.

Introduction / Orientation {relaxed and informal to build trust}

  • Confirm name/job title/organization/email
  • Scope of role and any countries/territories/themes they usually work in
  • Introduce interview purpose, check concerns about anonymity / non-attribution, permission to record
  • Explain how this IDI fits amongst other data-gathering mechanisms (questionnaire / small group meetings / large group discussion, alongside desk research and ongoing exchanges)
  • Clarify specific objectives, outputs, and anticipated outcomes

Individual experience and perspectives {dig for facts as well as opinions}

  • What does the respondent understand by the term “corruption?”
  • Do they have any direct experience of corruption? Can they explain what happened if so?
    • Did they report the incidence? If yes, what happened? If no, what stopped them?
  • Which agencies do they feel are the main perpetrators of corruption?
  • Are there specific geographic areas or levels of authority where it is more commonplace? Why?
  • How does corruption impact the respondent, their household, or work? What do they feel it does for the reputation of the country more broadly? What impact does it have on nature protection? The delivery of public services? Equality of access and development overall?
  • How do they think corruption behaviors are evolving in the country/region? What has been delivered so far to stop it, and what has happened? What were the reasons for success? What went wrong or could have been done better?
  • Do they feel enough is being done now to combat corruption? Who is delivering anti-corruption work and what are they doing? Is it having an impact? Why or why not?
  • Would the respondent be willing to pay more for products or services from companies with a proven clean track record when it comes to corruption? How much more if so?

Perceived priorities moving forward {expansive but probe for details}

  • What does the respondent feel should be done to combat corruption moving forward? What are the priorities? Who should lead on these? Why and how?
  • Are there any examples of anti-corruption actions elsewhere that could be replicated here?
  • How useful are current guidelines and templates in helping to formulate an anti-corruption project, plan activities, execute strategy, and/or reach targets? What other tools, partnerships, or resources would be beneficial in designing anti-corruption actions?
  • Is there anything else the respondent would like to contribute to SNBC anti-corruption initiatives?

Wrap-up / Next steps

  • Thank you/write-up/review and confirmation of comments / sign-off on transcription.
  • Remind them of timeline and next steps.

Annex 3. Example pre-test process via focus group for Package 3

The below builds upon tools shared by the Basel Institute on Governance and illustrates an example pre-test process employed by anti-corruption practitioners through a focus group setting in East Africa. Researchers engaged health center workers who were exposed to occasional corrupt practices (patients offering bribes to get faster or fuller health care services).

The pre-test process was run in two parts. In Part 1, potential SNBC messages were shown alongside draft creative concepts and key visuals. Focus group participants were invited to provide their “top of mind” reactions and perspectives about the extent to which the materials would help them reject bribes. In Part 2, participants were then invited to share their “Wish,” “Outcome,” “Obstacles,” and “Plans” to help inform the overall SNBC approach.

Part 1: Messages about the exchange of gifts at health facilities

Please read the following messages. In the spaces provided please write down your comments on the messages (no full sentences needed, just a few keywords that help you during the discussion):

  • What are your first thoughts when you read the messages?
  • How do you think other doctors in public health facilities in [PLACE] would react?
  • Are there any words/ expressions that sound weird or are difficult to understand?
  • Do you find the messages convincing? If yes: Why? If no: Why not



Message 1.

The Ministry of Health consider gifts given by patients to providers to be corruption. It doesn’t matter whether the gift is given before or after the service, or whether it’s money or something else. We will not tolerate providers’ involvement in corruption.

Stay clean - don’t accept any gifts!

Message 2.

Medical providers in your country like you are committed to providing equitable and accessible health services to all patients. When providers accept gifts - whether money or something else - from patients, this undermines their ability to respect this commitment.

Honor your professional code of ethics - don’t accept gifts!

Message 3.

When offering a gift, many patients will expect something in return the next time they or their family member are treated by you. This will undermine your ability to provide services in an equitable and fair way.

Don’t be in debt to your patients - don’t accept gifts!

Message 4.

We know that many doctors like you want to refuse gifts from patients, but that this can be difficult. You might worry that a patient will get upset or you might fear that patients will speak badly about you if you don’t respect tradition.

Don’t give in to social pressures - don’t accept gifts!

Part 2. Example of WOOP process (Wish; Outcome; Obstacle; Plan)

XXX Health Centre’s Wish:

E.g., We want to be a health facility that treats all patients equally and refuses gifts.

Achieving this will make us feel:

E.g., Proud that we are a clinic that helps XXX become a fairer country.

What sometimes makes it difficult for us to refuse gifts:

E.g., We are afraid that users will become upset when we refuse gifts or talk badly about the health center as not valuing their gratitude.

What we will do when a patient offers a gift:

E.g., 1) Thank them for their gratitude.

2) Explain that we already receive a salary for our work.

3) Ask them to donate something to a charity or someone else they want to help instead.

[1] This is a good example of how an interviewer can introduce themselves at the beginning of an interview, but it may not meet all requirements for informed consent. More detailed informed consent templates can be found in “Communities against corruption: Assessment framework and methodological toolkit."


Research and writing of this document was led by Gayle Burgess, Behavior Change Programme Leader of TRAFFIC: email: [email protected]. The author is grateful to Elizabeth Hart, Gabriel Sipos, Preston Whitt, Sabri Zain, Claudia Baez-Camargo, and Maija Sirola for their reviews of the document.


Anguera, M. Teresa, Angel Blanco-Villaseñor, Gudberg K. Jonsson, José Luis Losada, and Mariona Portell. 2020. “Editorial: Best Practice Approaches for Mixed Methods Research in Psychological Science.” Frontiers in Psychology 11.

Baez Camargo, Claudia, and Gayle Burgess. 2022. “Behavioral drivers of corruption facilitating illegal wildlife trade: Problem analysis and state of the field review.” Working Paper 39, Basel Institute on Governance.

Dorner, Zack. 2019. A behavioral rebound effect. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 98.

Foster, Ian, Rayid Ghani, Ron S. Jarmin, Frauke Kreuter, and Julia Lane. 2021. “Big Data and Social Science. Second Edition.

Grossman, Juhani, Claudia Baez Camargo, Saba Kassa, Beatriz Torres, and Jo Shaw. 2022. “Using political economy analysis to support corruption risk assessments that strengthen law enforcement against wildlife crime.” TNRC Learning Series.

Luna-Pla, Issa and José R. Nicolás-Carlock. 2020. “Corruption and complexity: a scientific framework for the analysis of corruption networks.” Applied Network Science 5.

Mgaza, Allen. 2022. “Tracking the trade: Increasing efficiency and transparency in Tanzania's timber sector.” TNRC Practice Note.

Nature. 2022. “Science must respect the dignity and rights of all humans.” Nature Human Behaviour 6.

Scharbatke-Church, Cheyanne and Kiely Barnard-Webster. 2017. Understanding Corruption in Criminal Justice as a Robust and Resilient System. Version 1.0. CDA Collaborative Learning Projects.

Scharbatke-Church, Cheyanne and Richard Nash. 2022. “Unpacking corruption paves the way for social norms analysis.” Corruption, Justice, and Legitimacy.

Schwickerath, Anna K., Aiysha Varraich, and Laura-Lee Smith. 2017. “How to research corruption?” Conference Proceedings: Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Forum, June 2016.

UNODC. 2018. “Manual on Corruption Surveys.” UNODC Research.

WWF. 2020. “Strategic Framework: Political Economy Analysis for Conservation Impact (PEACI).” WWF Governance Practice.