Background Previous studies in Africa and Latin America have shown that conducting surveys with mobile devices saves time and money compared to traditional pen-and-paper surveys. Open Data Kit (ODK) is an open-source application suite for building, collecting, and managing data using Android-enabled phones or tablets. ODK enables complex skip patterns, multi-language implementation, multimedia, collection of GPS coordinates, and secure web-based data storage.
Methods Two self-administered sexual behaviour surveys were conducted on mobile phones using ODK: one with adolescents in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, South Africa (n = 4485, median age 15 years, 146-item questionnaire); one with adult male soccer players in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (n = 663, median age 24 years, 71-item questionnaire). Ten focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted with participants and survey teams to assess acceptability. Additionally, participants were asked survey questions related to their comfort, understanding and satisfaction with this method of questionnaire administration. Non-response rates are reported for selected sensitive questions asked on both questionnaires.
Results FGDs found that participants and facilitators were comfortable and engaged when using the mobile phones. There was a strong feeling that using the mobile phone provided increased privacy and confidentiality when answering sensitive questions, compared to self-administered paper-based sexual behaviour surveys. In all, 4015 (78.1%) participants reported preferring the mobile-phone-based survey to a pen-and-paper survey, while 716 (13.9%) reported preferring pen-and-paper. Low non-response was observed in both studies for reported HIV testing (SA: 2.7%; Zim: 1.8%), condom use ever (SA: 8.7%; Zim: 2.0%), and previous STI experience (SA: 8.1%; Zim: 2.6%).
Conclusions Data capture on mobile phones using ODK had high acceptability among both South African adolescents and Zimbabwean men. Researchers conducting sexual behaviour surveys should consider data collection on mobile phones using ODK software as a potential data capture method.
- mobile technology
- Sexual Behaviour
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