Is audio computer-assisted self-interviewing a feasible method of surveying in Zimbabwe?
Background Research into reproductive health is dependent on participants accurately reporting sensitive behaviours. We examined whether audio computer-assisted self-interviewing (ACASI), which increased sensitive behaviour reporting in the US, is a feasible method of surveying in developing countries. Methods Zimbabwean women in three educational groups were surveyed about demographics and family planning using interviewer and ACASI modes. An exit survey was administered to elicit information about the participants' opinions and experiences using ACASI. Results The majority of women (86%) preferred ACASI to interviewer mode. The reasons mentioned were always related to increased confidentiality and privacy. Ability to use ACASI and user preferences varied with educational level. More women with primary school or less education (53%) reported problems with computer use than women in the higher educational groups (10–12%). The percentage of women having perfect response concordance between ACASI and interviewer modes increased significantly with education (64%, 81%, and 84% respectively; Ptrend < 0.001). Conclusions Use of ACASI may be more feasible in Zimbabwe and other developing countries than was originally thought, but ACASI programs should continue to be improved and tested in various countries and population groups.