Four Surprising Ways Mode and Gender Can Transform Your Survey Data

A mother participates in a survey on infant nutrition using her mobile phone in Kitui County, Kenya. Photo: World Agroforestry/Sabrina Chesterman

By Christine Lamanna (World Agroforestry), Kusum Hachhethu (WFP), Sabrina Chesterman (World Agroforestry), Suneetha Kadiyala (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), and Todd Rosenstock (World Agroforestry).

Mobile data collection technologies are increasingly being used to collect data remotely. However, there is little information about how the mode of data collection might affect the resulting data and the conclusions drawn from those data.

With the enormous growth of mobile connectivity in developing countries and the proliferation of apps enabling easy collection of data via mobile technologies, governments and development practitioners have been racing to complement face-to-face surveys with mobile data collection using phone interviews, SMS text messages, and Interactive Voice Response (IVR).

Remote surveys using mobile technologies promise more cost-effective data collection, enabling increased frequency of data collection from more people and in remote and insecure locations.

Mobile technologies have been successfully used to collect survey data for diverse applications including:

Despite these many examples, there’s relatively little systematic evidence about how the mode of data collection might affect the resulting data and the conclusions we can draw from those data.

Within this context, we tested whether different modes of data collection (traditional face-to-face interviews (F2F) and computer assisted telephone interviews (CATI) over mobile phones) resulted in different estimates of dietary diversity and quality among women and young children in rural Kenya.

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