In order to elicit honest levels of support, the researchers used a series of four endorsement experiments. Rather than asking civilians whether they supported the Taliban or ISAF, the survey asked whether they support four policies, which they prefaced with “The Taliban supports,” “The ISAF supports,” or “Some people support.” (The policies are in fact all endorsed by both sides.) This does not measure the individual’s support for each side, but provides an estimate of support for a group within a region’s population.
An experimental design was used in which the NSP program was partially extended to ten non-NSP districts in 2007; in each of these, 50 villages were selected and then randomly assigned to take part in NSP or not. Selected villages were grouped into matched pairs based on background characteristics and a requirement that they not be within 1km of each other; one unit in each pair was then randomly assigned to treatment.
For this study an informational campaign was delivered to women in a sample of villages two weeks prior to the 2008 national election in Pakistan with randomization at the level of within-village geographical clusters.