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An assessment of inter-observer agreement in water source classification and sanitary risk observations

An assessment of inter-observer agreement in water source classification and sanitary risk observations
An assessment of inter-observer agreement in water source classification and sanitary risk observations
Sanitary risk inspection, an observation protocol for identifying contamination hazards around water sources, is promoted for managing rural water supply safety. However, it is unclear how far different observers consistently identify contamination hazards and consistently classify water source types using standard typologies.
This study aimed to quantify inter-observer agreement in hazard identification and classification of rural water sources. Six observers separately visited 146 domestic water sources in Siaya County, Kenya, in wet and dry seasons. Each observer independently classified the source type and conducted a sanitary risk inspection using a standard protocol. Water source types assigned by an experienced observer were cross-tabulated against those of his colleagues, as were contamination hazards identified, and inter-observer agreement measures calculated.
Agreement between hazards observed by the most experienced observer versus his colleagues was significant but low (intra-class correlation=0.49), with inexperienced observers detecting fewer hazards. Inter-observer agreement in classifying water sources was strong (Cohen’s kappa =0.84). However, some source types were frequently misclassified, such as sources adapted to cope with water insecurity (e.g. tanks drawing on both piped and rainwater).
Observers with limited training and experience thus struggle to consistently identify hazards using existing protocols, suggesting observation protocols require revision and their implementation should be supported by comprehensive training. Findings also indicate that field survey teams struggle to differentiate some water source types based on a standard water source classification, particularly sources adapted to cope with water insecurity. These findings demonstrate uncertainties underpinning international monitoring and analyses of safe water access via household surveys.
2451-9685
Okotto-Okotto, Joseph
a8cb5abe-ee03-4c93-978b-b02a02350e26
Wanza, Peggy
fe7bfcdb-f5fd-492d-a60c-efe97fffb3b0
Kwoba, Emmah
25a80128-b537-43d4-a313-25026767b7d4
Yu, Weiyu
4cca6f0a-badb-4f1c-8b38-da29ba0b9e09
Dzodzomenyo, Mawuli
b3bafe27-4542-4ece-a82a-4717a72df187
Thumbi, Samuel
74b28f8d-fafb-432f-8129-394944f2ed1a
Gomes da Silva, Diogo
0a247507-43aa-4853-a41f-25d9324d9866
Wright, Jim A.
94990ecf-f8dd-4649-84f2-b28bf272e464
Okotto-Okotto, Joseph
a8cb5abe-ee03-4c93-978b-b02a02350e26
Wanza, Peggy
fe7bfcdb-f5fd-492d-a60c-efe97fffb3b0
Kwoba, Emmah
25a80128-b537-43d4-a313-25026767b7d4
Yu, Weiyu
4cca6f0a-badb-4f1c-8b38-da29ba0b9e09
Dzodzomenyo, Mawuli
b3bafe27-4542-4ece-a82a-4717a72df187
Thumbi, Samuel
74b28f8d-fafb-432f-8129-394944f2ed1a
Gomes da Silva, Diogo
0a247507-43aa-4853-a41f-25d9324d9866
Wright, Jim A.
94990ecf-f8dd-4649-84f2-b28bf272e464

Okotto-Okotto, Joseph, Wanza, Peggy, Kwoba, Emmah, Yu, Weiyu, Dzodzomenyo, Mawuli, Thumbi, Samuel, Gomes da Silva, Diogo and Wright, Jim A. (2019) An assessment of inter-observer agreement in water source classification and sanitary risk observations. Exposure and Health. (doi:10.1007/s12403-019-00339-3).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Sanitary risk inspection, an observation protocol for identifying contamination hazards around water sources, is promoted for managing rural water supply safety. However, it is unclear how far different observers consistently identify contamination hazards and consistently classify water source types using standard typologies.
This study aimed to quantify inter-observer agreement in hazard identification and classification of rural water sources. Six observers separately visited 146 domestic water sources in Siaya County, Kenya, in wet and dry seasons. Each observer independently classified the source type and conducted a sanitary risk inspection using a standard protocol. Water source types assigned by an experienced observer were cross-tabulated against those of his colleagues, as were contamination hazards identified, and inter-observer agreement measures calculated.
Agreement between hazards observed by the most experienced observer versus his colleagues was significant but low (intra-class correlation=0.49), with inexperienced observers detecting fewer hazards. Inter-observer agreement in classifying water sources was strong (Cohen’s kappa =0.84). However, some source types were frequently misclassified, such as sources adapted to cope with water insecurity (e.g. tanks drawing on both piped and rainwater).
Observers with limited training and experience thus struggle to consistently identify hazards using existing protocols, suggesting observation protocols require revision and their implementation should be supported by comprehensive training. Findings also indicate that field survey teams struggle to differentiate some water source types based on a standard water source classification, particularly sources adapted to cope with water insecurity. These findings demonstrate uncertainties underpinning international monitoring and analyses of safe water access via household surveys.

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Accepted/In Press date: 10 December 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 24 December 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 436884
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/436884
ISSN: 2451-9685
PURE UUID: 1d503a43-9770-4dc9-9efd-b6d45d8243d9
ORCID for Jim A. Wright: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8842-2181

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Date deposited: 13 Jan 2020 17:31
Last modified: 12 Feb 2020 01:29

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Contributors

Author: Joseph Okotto-Okotto
Author: Peggy Wanza
Author: Emmah Kwoba
Author: Weiyu Yu
Author: Mawuli Dzodzomenyo
Author: Samuel Thumbi
Author: Diogo Gomes da Silva
Author: Jim A. Wright ORCID iD

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