Revisiting the Recommended Duration of Interviews Conducted by Mobile Phone in Low- and Middle-income Countries: A Randomized Trial in Malawi

Orsola Torrisi, Jethro Banda, Georges Reniers, Stéphane Helleringer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Guidelines for conducting surveys by mobile phone calls in low- and middle-income countries suggest keeping interviews short (<20 minutes). The evidence supporting this recommendation is scant, even though limiting interview duration might reduce the amount of data generated by such surveys. We recruited nearly 2,500 mobile phone users in Malawi and randomly allocated them to 10-, 20-, or 30-minute phone interviews, all ending with questions on parental survival. Cooperation was high in all groups, and differences in completion rates were minimal. The extent of item nonresponse, age heaping, and temporal displacement of deaths in data on parental survival generally did not vary between study groups, but reports of maternal age at death were more reliable in longer interviews. Recommendations about the duration of mobile phone interviews might be too restrictive. They should not preclude additional modules, including ones on mortality, in mobile phone surveys conducted in LMICs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalField Methods
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology

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