Georgian Opinion Research Business International, Tbilisi, Georgia (GORBI) 

GORBI is the oldest and one of the largest market and opinion research organizations in Georgia. Founded by Dr Merab Pachulia (in partnership with Dr Gordon Heald, Director of Opinion Research Business, UK) it has earned a strong reputation, both regionally and internationally, for its impeccable research standards. Since its inception in 1991, GORBI has refined its techniques and broadened its scope to become the foremost survey research organization in the Caucasus.

Over the last two decades, GORBI has worked with numerous organisations worldwide, and has conducted various projects focusing on politics, sociology, electoral studies, and social policy. GORBI’s work is often cited in major print and broadcast media, including The Financial Times, The Economist, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, La Figaro, and Newsweek, as well as major television networks.

GORBI provides full-service research, offering a complete range of qualitative and quantitative research strategies, including surveys, focus groups, in-depth interviews, media monitoring, and desk research activities. In Georgia alone, GORBI employs more than 300 well-trained interviewers and supervisors with an average of 8 years’ experience, and has its presence in throughout the Caucasus. GORBI’s track record and management capabilities are reflected in the award of several multi-country projects conducted on behalf of the World Bank, EBRD, IFC and the EU over the last decade.

These projects, implemented by GORBI in more than ten countries, have included the ‘Assessment of the ENPI, Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Survey’ (BEEPS), ‘Organization and Innovation survey’ (MOI), ‘Rural Investment Climate Assessment’ (RICA), ‘Life in Transition Survey’; and more recently ‘Social Accountability in Municipal Services in Georgia’ (2014); and ‘Missing Women in The South Caucasus’ (2014). Currently, GORBI, As a part of the consortia lead by TNS Opinion, is completing a 3-year Project in 6 countries (Ar, Az, Ge, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine), the European Neighborhood Partnership Initiative (ENPI) Assessment in Georgia financed by the EU. Also, currently, GORBI conducts ‘Post Presidential Election survey in Uzbekistan (Political Science Department’, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Harriman Institute, Columbia University and ‘Political and Economic Behavior in Georgia’, the University of Iowa.

Dr Merab Pachulia
is Managing Director of GORBI. A sociologist by training, he has supervised multiple national, regional, and international projects. From 1991 to 1994, Dr. Pachulia was in charge of the Eurobarometer surveys in Armenia and Georgia. He was also director of the World Values Surveys in the Caucasus in 1995 and of the same project in Georgia in 2008. He led the European Values Surveys across the Caucasus in 2008. In 1992, 1995, and 1999 on behalf of the UNICRI, he supervised opinion surveys concerning crime in Georgia and Azerbaijan. He was the team leader for a repeat survey (funded by EU) in Georgia in 2010 and 2011. Dr Pachulia undertook 2005 exit polls for the parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan; and conducted major rural and social assessment projects in Georgia for the World Bank in 2002, 2003 and in 2011. The latter cited his implementation as one of “the best practice” setting "an important standard for future projects.” His publications include:
  • Voting Behavior and the Stockholm Syndrome in the Republic of Georgia. American Political Science Review (2014) (Viki Hesli and Merab Pachulia)
  • Personality Traits and Candidate Evaluations in the Republic of Georgia. The Journal of Politics. (2013) (Viki Hesli, Merab Pachulia)
  • Foregoing medicines in the former Soviet Union: changes between 2001 and 2010 (co-author) DOI:
  • Party Strength as a Function of Political and Social Crisis in Georgia (co-author), Midwest Political Science Association (1996)
Dr Badri Kutelia, Ph.D. in Sociology, joined GORBI in September, 2012 as a Project Manager. Previously he was involved in research at academic institutions in Tbilisi and Moscow. He is a member of the scientific board for the Institute of Migration History at Grigol Robakidze University, Georgia. At GORBI, he focuses on methodological as well as survey conduct matters. His main interests include social, cultural, and political value preferences of population groups in transitive societies. At GORBI, Dr. Kutelia has been involved in all stages of research, from preparing research documents to data collection, report writing, and dissemination. He has nearly 70 scientific and general publications on sociological and social issues as well as some concerning out-migration processes. Among them are:
  • Time to Live a Wealthy Life // Business Time Georgia, Tbilisi, #3 – 2013, in Russian;
  • Paradox Postmodernity and Diaspora // Emigranti, Tbilisi, 2013 , in Georgian;
  • Diaspora Ambivalence / Cultural Dialogue and the role of Diaspora, UNESCO, Tbilisi, 2009, pp.60-69, in Georgian, English;
  • Georgians in Russia: Migration and Diaspora // “Tanamemamule” journal, №1(27), December-January 2007-2008, London (in Georgian)
  • Text in the Information Society / Social Guidance, Communication and Project Technologies, Institute of Sociology RAS, Moscow, 2006, in Russian;
  • Status Groups in the Context of Social Equality/inequality (ch.12) / in Institute monograph “Social Structure of the Russian Society”, Institute of Sociology, RAS, Moscow, 2003, in Russian;
Irine Pilia, sociologist, project manager at GORBI for more than 10 years, participated in international and national projects conducted by GORBI. She has extensive experience in directing Georgia population empirical surveys such as: Media Study (IREX, USAID), Exit Poll survey (GORBI, Rustavi2), Public Education Project (OSC), Survey of Affected Land Owners, Land Users and Land Occupiers, Corridor and AGI Land Use for BTC and SCP Pipeline Construction (BP), Local Government Activities (GOCISP), Land Market Survey (The World Bank), Image of The Georgian Police (Ministry of International Affairs of Georgia).

Tea Chanturia was appointed as GORBI’s Project Manager in 2008. She has a B.A. degree in International Relations and Diplomacy as well as a Masters of Law. Tea has managed several projects for GORBI in the former Soviet bloc countries and has conducted extensive training with colleagues from Central Asia, the Caucasus and Eastern Europe. She mainly conducts public opinion polls among the general population. She managed projects:
  • Security and Crime Survey Georgia (2010-2012), EU Delegation in Georgia; ENPI (European Neighborhood Policy Instrument, 2009-2010, 2012-2015.
  • Georgian Crime Trends in an International Perspective; a secondary analysis of the 2010/2011 Crime and Security Surveys in Georgia, Jan Van Dijk &Tea Chanturia, Hulla and Co. Human dynamics KG, 2012.
Data Quality Assurance

Even before data collection is underway, we begin our data quality assurance routines. There are three primary methods we use to prevent data falsification and mis-entry. We use several checks at the point of entry, tools to check collected data for irregularities, as well as back-checking previously completed fieldwork. Any irregularities in data collection or problems uncovered during the course of fieldwork will be reported to the Pew Research team, along with recommendations for correction, and we will agree upon an appropriate response.

On-site DQA - Our supervisors are our primary method of QA on site. Supervisors regularly and randomly visit interviews in progress to ensure that proper technique is observed, and that interviewers are professional and efficient. Secondly, our CAPI questionnaires are programmed to guarantee the proper formatting of entered data, and to carry out logical skips without requiring interviewer participation.

Central DQA - At our HQ, we pair GPS readings with completed surveys to ensure that timing and location are consistent. We also perform logical checks of the collected data, and any inconsistent responses that may represent data falsification are flagged for review.

Back-checking - Finally we will back-check 10% of all collected data to ensure that the repeated surveys are not inexplicably different than reported. This last step further encourages proper data collection by interviewers.

Our software allows for recording of the actual interview via built-in microphones in laptops. We use this feature when conducting market research or other opinion polls. Any time this feature is turned on, we obtain consent/agreement from respondents. Naturally, this method dramatically increases the quality of data collection and especially the interviewing process, but the only drawback is ensuring respondents about the anonymity of their political preferences. We are most happy to discuss this approach with Pew Research and together decide the worthiness of this method for the project per offered country.

Our Technology

G-CAESS Capabilities - GORBI has over a hundred notebooks, netbooks, and tablets in Georgia that serve as hardware for our proprietary programs known collectively as “GORBI - Computer Assisted Entry Software Suite”. We developed this suite in-house to provide capabilities that other interviewing software was lacking: field data uploading, interview timing, an interface with our GPS devices, and a series of data quality assurance measures.

The software suite includes a battery of quality assurance procedures both at the point of entry and in the database. These include: survey templates that check for appropriate character length and format, a series of logical checks on our servers that help to identify possible data falsification and mis-entry, and systematic comparison of interview times and entered locations with GPS readings allows us unrivalled oversight of our interviewers in the field and geospatial analysis capabilities as well.

NB. In Georgia, we prefer using devices with an actual keyboard and 12inch screens at minimum, this has two advantages – the process is less time consuming, and users make fewer mistakes compared to entering answers via touch screen and special pen. Also, with large screens it is much easier to work on lengthy surveys and read tables.

GPS-RAS - Over the four years, all fieldwork activities in Georgia have been tracked by our GPS-RAS (Global Positioning System - Route Analysis Solution). This system provides an extra measure of data quality, as well as the possibility to visualize and analyze data geographically.

When using our GPS devices, human error is minimal as there are no buttons or interaction required; the process is automated. Regular readings are taken and analysis is conducted after the data is sent to our HQ and synchronized with our questionnaire data. Once paired, the data is run through our proprietary algorithms that validate all the data, generate error reports, and a map file that can be used with programs such as Google earth. This gives us a good understanding of interviewers’ behavior during the fieldwork, adds transparency to the interviewing process, and can provide organizations a means of determining if interviewers are following the methodologies assigned to the route.

Previous Research Projects

  • Social Accountability in Municipal Services in Georgia, 2014. The World Bank, along with other development partners, has recognized social accountability (SA) as an effective mechanism to improve service delivery and enhance developmental impact. The objective of the study was to improve the effectiveness of key municipal services by supporting the integration of tailored Social Accountability mechanisms into municipal service provision institutions through the Second Regional and Municipal Infrastructure Development Project (RMIDP 2).
  • Missing Women in the South Caucasus, 2014. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a highly skewed sex ratio at birth has emerged in the South Caucasus and some Western Balkan countries. Sex ratios in Armenia (114.5), Azerbaijan (116.5) and Georgia (113.6) are now among the highest in the world.
  • Gender Mobility in Georgia: Qualitative Assessment of Economic Mobility and Labor Markets in ECA: A Gender Perspective, 2013. This study investigated different communities with an eye to understanding the economic changes these communities have experienced, their attitudes toward various aspects of economic mobility and, importantly, how the genders differ in these aspects and affect one another.
  • Impact assessment of the Neo Economic Initiative (2011-2014), sponsored by USAID. 3 waves of household and community surveys (1500 per waves) in selected areas of Georgia, infrastructure assessment and price surveys in 50 localities. GORBI is in charge of full service that includes delivery of analytical report.
  • Assessment of European Neighborhood Policy Instrument (ENPI) – financed by the EU, the first phase of project was conducted from 2009-2011 and the second phase administered from 2012 to 2014; projects and involves a series of focus groups, elite surveys and public opinion polls. GORBI acts as the project manager company for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova and Georgia and is also in charge of producing analytical reports for each country and per survey wave.
  • The Georgian Crime Survey, sponsored by EU delegation in Georgia (2010-2012). The main objective of this project was to produce quality data for international comparative criminological research, beyond the constraints of officially recorded crime data. The goal was to provide information on victimization experiences, fear of crime, and attitudes towards the criminal justice system. Data was collected to allow for international comparisons. 3 waves of household surveys were conducted on a national level, 3000 respondents per wave were interviewed.

Fieldwork Quality Control using GPS technology

A few years ago, while conducting a WB household survey, it was requested that we take GPS readings of every household we approach. Since that time, GORBI has made GPS field tracking part of our standard data quality assurance package.

GORBI has developed a system that provides a significant level of transparency regarding face to face interviews. This system allows GORBI to track interviewers as they conduct each interview, giving GORBI the ability to ensure that the methodology set for fieldwork is followed.

GORBI uses a proprietary system which tracks interviews by GPS. By employing several algorithms, GORBI is able to generate an accurate portrait of the path taken in such detail that each interview can be traced to the street and house level.

Collecting GPS readings

Over the last four years, all of GORBI’s fieldwork activities in Georgia have been tracked by GPS devices. In late 2010, GORBI purchased over 400 (model 747A+) GPS devices for fieldwork from TSI. These devices were compared with several other brand name devices but eventually chosen for their simplicity. Each device is programmed in a way to collect readings every 10 seconds. The interviewer also has to make sure that the device is charged every three days. The rest of the process (analysing the readings to synchronize with questionnaire data) is done through our software.

Its other advantage is security: as the device has no screen and looks like a simple pager, it is less likely to draw the attention of security forces in more sensitive locations (i.e. Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Belarus). This device comes with software which allows us to export data to a simple comma delimited file. This provides simple integration with excel or any required RDBMS system including Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and MySQL, among others.

GPS readings are uploaded to Google earth and used for measuring the random route of respondents. This is not a 100% precise approach, but it still gives us a good understanding of interviewers’ behaviour during fieldwork.