In low- and middle-income (LMIC) countries both within and outside Africa, interviewer-administered, face-to-face (F2F) surveys are and will remain the main data collection tool for the foreseeable future. In fact, previous research has shown that 85% of surveys in LMIC countries published in renowned social science journals between January 2010 and October 2015 were conducted in a face-to-face context. While high penetration of smartphones and internet usage facilitates the transition to often less costly self-administered mobile and web surveys in high-income countries, their absence underlies the continued reliance on face-to-face surveys in countries with fewer resources. Considerably few people in these countries, particularly in rural areas, are connected to the internet or have reliable telephone connections. Varying levels of literacy in such contexts also presents a challenge to collecting data in modes other than F2F. Therefore, telephone and web surveys for a general population survey are difficult to implement. In this setting in which both survey implementers and respondents are highly dependent on interviewers, the role of the interviewer and assessment of data quality vulnerable to error introduced by interviewers is particularly critical. However, there has been limited research in the translation of relevant quality assessment approaches to LMIC contexts.
The objective of this session is to explore approaches to quality assurance and quality control relating to F2F surveys in LMIC countries. Papers will focus on how survey researchers and practitioners, particularly across Africa, consider quality in those components of the total survey error framework where interviewers are likely to introduce error. This session welcomes research on practical approaches to minimizing and assessing interviewer-related error in these contexts as well as on implementation of innovative approaches to achieving collection of high-quality data in interviewer-administered surveys.