The feasibility of audio computer-assisted self-interviewing in international settings
Objective: To determine the feasibility of using audio computer-assisted self-interviewing (ACASI) for data collection in developing countries, and to compare responses to questions eliciting sensitive information about sexual behavior using ACASI versus computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) in five developing countries.
Design: A feasibility study determined whether ACASI could be used in populations in developing countries. A follow-up, randomized crossover study compared responses to questions eliciting sensitive information about sexual behavior using ACASI versus CAPI.
Methods: The NIMH Collaborative HIV/STD Prevention Trial conducted a feasibility study of ACASI in convenience samples in China, India, Peru, and Russia, then a randomized crossover ACASI versus CAPI study among volunteers in these countries plus Zimbabwe.
Results: Approximately equal numbers of men and women completed the feasibility study; the results suggested a high comfort level among participants. Married respondents in China and India appeared to give unreliable responses on sexual activity. In the crossover study, the pattern of responses to sensitive questions showed few differences. In China, higher rates of sexual risk were reported on CAPI. In Peru and Russia, differences by mode were found in the number of partners in the past year.
Conclusion: Despite variable computer experience and literacy, feasibility study participants reported ease in completing ACASI, and preferred a computer to an interviewer for answering sensitive questions, or had no preference. In the crossover study, most participants gave similar responses on both modes of survey administration. ACASI appears to be feasible in these settings, although low literacy may pose problems if participants cannot clarify questions.