Analyzing the Effectiveness of a Non-Verbal Response Card: Evidence from Ethiopia
David P Lindstrom, Brown University
We present the results from a test of a new response method for use with sensitive questions in the context of a face-to-face interviewer administered questionnaire. The non-verbal response card that we develop offers a simple, low-tech alternative to computer-assisted self-interviews for use in low income rural settings where illiteracy is common. We tested this new method in a survey of 1,268 randomly sampled adolescents age 13-24 in a rural zone of Ethiopia. A comparison of responses to sensitive questions regarding sexual attitudes, knowledge and behavior reveal significant differences in response patterns between a control group that provided verbal responses and an experimental group that used the card. These results suggest that conventional face-to-face interviewer administered surveys may in selective populations provide seriously biased estimates of adolescent sexual behavior and attitudes regarding contraception and sexual behavior.