The feasibility of computer-assisted survey interviewing in Africa: Experience from two rural districts in Kenya

Document Type

Article (peer-reviewed)

Publication Date



This article explores the use of an audio computer-assisted self-interviewing (audio-CASI) methodology in a household survey of adolescents in two districts of Kenya. Computer software was developed as part of a research project comparing audio-CASI with traditional methods of interviewing about sensitive behaviors, including sexual initiation, risky sexual behavior, coerced sex, and drug and alcohol use. The article describes the experience of carrying out a household-based study using computers and explores the technical challenges faced by the data-collection teams. Few problems emerged with the computer hardware and software despite the difficult interviewing conditions. The adolescent respondents easily adapted to the computerized interview and were able to complete the survey with minimal assistance. However, the computers were not a completely neutral part of the data-collection process and added to problems encountered during the fieldwork in one of the districts. Unexpected findings regarding respondents' perceptions of privacy and confidentiality were also observed.