Interview Length in Demographic and Health Surveys: Trends, Patterns, and Implication for Data Quality

Yoonjoung Choi, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
Lauren Bachan, Pennsylvania State University
Madeleine Short Fabic, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
Jacob A. Adetunji, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

The Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) Program is a major, critical data source for population and health in less developed countries. Its scope and questionnaire has expanded in order to respond to data needs, which are expected to continue to grow. With this expansion, concerns around interview length and its potential implications on data quality have been raised. However, few studies examined interview length and data quality, particularly in face-to-face interviews. Using 20 surveys conducted in four select countries in sub-Saharan Africa, this study aims to: estimate trends of interview length; assess differentials in interview length by individual characteristics; and assess associations between interview length and select data quality indicators. Results confirm increasing interview length across countries, but at varying rates. Positive associations were found between interview length and select indicators on inconsistent reporting, which have implications on future questionnaire development, field implementation, as well as research using DHS data.

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Presented in Session 207: Public Health and Demography II