Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interview: Improving confidentiality in data collection techniques for SRGBV [CIES 2019 Presentation]

Panelist #4 on Measuring School-Related Gender-Based Violence: Tools, Resources, and Lessons Learned Panel. For many children around the world, schools are danger zones and places to be feared. UNICEF’s 2018 report on SRGBV noted that one third of teenagers (ages 13-15), globally, experience bullying. It is hard to imagine positive learning outcomes amidst such prevalence of violence as noted by UNGEI in their 2015 report: “widespread gender-based violence in and around schools seriously undermines the achievement of quality, inclusive and equitable education for all children.” Yet, policy makers, funders, and implementers lack the accurate prevalence information needed to inform effective programming that successfully addresses the roots of SRGBV and the way it is manifested in the lives of children. There remains a gap in global, comparable data on these experiences of violence: “Serious obstacles for documenting violence exist in many countries, and social taboos and fear of repercussion limit the safe spaces available for children to acknowledge and report experiences of school-related gender-based violence” (UNGEI 2015). Country data from Uganda supports this statement where 85% of students surveyed did not report cases of violence they had witnessed or personally experienced for fear of retaliation, discrimination, or further victimization (RTI International, 2018). To explore a new method to minimize barriers to collecting reliable prevalence data on SRGBV, this study piloted the use of Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interview (ACASI) and compared it to the traditional Face-to-Face (FTF) method. ACASI removes the assessor from the survey administration and, therefore, increases both the privacy and confidentiality of the survey. The study piloted ACASI with a small sample of P5 and P7 students (ages 10-14 approximately) in nine Uganda public primary schools with the two specific research questions: 1) Does ACASI improve the process of data collection? 2) Does ACASI improve the quality of data collected? The study found, on average, that students using ACASI reported experiencing two more acts of SRGBV than students who participated in the FTF method, and that students using ACASI were more likely to report an incident of SRGBV than the FTF students for two-thirds of questions asked. The study provides evidence that students are more likely to endorse having experienced SRGBV when using ACASI than when asked by an interviewer. Although this study was a pilot and therefore small-scale, these results underscore the importance of the method of data collection in collecting reliable prevalence data.