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New survey device gets better information on teenage sexual behavior
Date:12/14/2010

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] Brown University sociologists have developed a device to gather more reliable data about risky sexual behavior among Ethiopian teenagers and young adults than conventional face-to-face interviews can produce. Simple, portable, low-cost, and low-tech, the group's new nonverbal response card allows respondents to communicate nonverbally and confidentially during face-to-face interviews. Professors of sociology David Lindstrom and Dennis Hogan, and postdoctoral research associate Megan Klein Hattori published their findings in the December issue of Studies in Family Planning.

Successful programs to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS require accurate information about the prevalence of risky sexual behavior among populations. Obtaining that information can often be tricky due to intentional misreporting on sensitive topics. A number of innovations in questionnaire methodology have been developed to address reporting bias, but those techniques can be expensive, technically unreliable, and dependant on basic literacy.

The group's new nonverbal response card is an 8.5-by-11 inch laminated sheet of paper with a respondent side and an interviewer side. Each side is divided into 35 cells with a small hole punched through the center of each cell. On the respondent side of the card, the cells contain written and color-coded responses. The numeric responses, for questions such as the number of sexual partners or age at first sex, range from 0-25, marked with both a written number and vertical bars for tallying (for example, II for 2 and IIIII IIIII for 10). The non-numeric responses (yes, no, and does not apply) are written in local languages and also color-coded with green, red, and blue. On the interviewer side of the card, each cell contains a unique survey-specific three-digit number.

For sensitive portions of interviews, the respondent selects a card and holds it up. The interviewer asks the question and the
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Contact: Deborah Baum
deborah_baum@brown.edu
401-863-2478
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert  

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