AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 674–687 | Cite as

The Effect of Interview Method on Self-Reported Sexual Behavior and Perceptions of Community Norms in Botswana

  • Philip Anglewicz
  • Diana Gourvenec
  • Iris Halldorsdottir
  • Cate O’Kane
  • Obakeng Koketso
  • Marelize Gorgens
  • Toby Kasper
Original Paper


Since self-reports of sensitive behaviors play an important role in HIV/AIDS research, the accuracy of these measures has often been examined. In this paper we (1) examine the effect of three survey interview methods on self-reported sexual behavior and perceptions of community sexual norms in Botswana, and (2) introduce an interview method to research on self-reported sexual behavior in sub-Saharan Africa. Comparing across these three survey methods (face-to-face, ballot box, and randomized response), we find that ballot box and randomized response surveys both provide higher reports of sensitive behaviors; the results for randomized response are particularly strong. Within these overall patterns, however, there is variation by question type; additionally the effect of interview method differs by sex. We also examine interviewer effects to gain insight into the effectiveness of these interview methods, and our results suggest that caution be used when interpreting the differences between survey methods.


HIV/AIDS Sexual behavior Survey methodology Reporting biases Multiple concurrent partnerships Sub-Saharan Africa 


Dado que los auto informes de conductas sensibles juegan un papel importante en la investigación de VIH/SIDA, la precisión de estas medidas se examinan a menudo. En este artículo nosotros (1) examinamos el efecto de tres métodos de entrevista en el auto informe de comportamiento sexual y las percepciones de las normas comunitarias sexuales en Botswana, y (2) se introduce un método de entrevista a la investigación del uso de auto informe en la conducta sexual en el Africa, Sur del Sahara. Después de comparar los tres métodos (cara a cara, urna electoral, y la respuesta aleatorizada), se encuentra que las urnas y la respuesta aleatorizada producen reportes más altos de comportamientos sensibles. Los resultados de la respuesta aleatorizada son particularmente fuerte. Entre esto resultados, se encuentra que hay variación por pregunta y que el efecto de cada método varia por genero. Finalmente, usamos el análisis del efecto del entrevistador para aprender más sobre la eficacia de estos métodos de entrevista y se sugiere cuidado cuando se interpreta las diferencias entre estos métodos de entrevista.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip Anglewicz
    • 1
  • Diana Gourvenec
    • 2
  • Iris Halldorsdottir
    • 2
  • Cate O’Kane
    • 2
  • Obakeng Koketso
    • 2
  • Marelize Gorgens
    • 3
  • Toby Kasper
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Global Health Systems and DevelopmentTulane University School of Public Health and Tropical MedicineNew OrleansUSA
  2. 2.Population Services InternationalGaboroneBotswana
  3. 3.The World Bank Global HIV/AIDS ProgramWashingtonUSA

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