SOCIAL SCIENCE COMPUTER REVIEW, vol.40, no.6, pp.1393-1415, 2022 (SCI-Expanded)
The Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) have been carried out in over 90 countries since 1984, as interviewer administered household surveys conducted initially by paper and pencil interviews (PAPI). Computer assisted personal interviews (CAPI) were introduced in the 2004 Peru DHS, and since then numerous countries have also switched. However, DHS randomized mode comparisons have been limited. The 2018 Sixth Turkey DHS was conducted using CAPI but allocated one household from 21 in each of 754 clusters to PAPI. This analysis examines a wide range of potential differences between modes: interviewer attitudes toward modes; response rates, underreporting and misreporting of persons or events, number of selections to "check all that applies" questions, respondents' attitudes towards modes reflected by responses to sensitive questions, satisficing behavior such as age heaping, straight-line response patterns, and use of don't know options; and some operational aspects of modes such as retrospective monthly contraceptive prevalence rates, presence of others during interview, and interview length. Findings show that, despite strong interviewer CAPI preference, CAPI and PAPI were on average almost identical in terms of responses. CAPI took 11 min less (total duration of 33 min). Analysis of retrospective monthly contraception use indicated potential underreporting by CAPI for past use, an issue highlighted before in DHS literature. Overall, the switch to computer technology in DHS surveys does not appear to change estimates or levels of nonsampling errors, although some differences with respect to PAPI mode may need DHS designer attention.