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SHORT REPORT: The Other Side of Rapport: Data Collection Mode and Interviewer Gender Effects on Sexual Health Reporting in Ghana

Justina Agula, Jennifer B Barrett, Hilde Tobi

Abstract

Accurate data on young people’s sexual behaviour and sexual health practice is essential to inform effective interventions and policy. However, little empirical evidence exists to support methodological design decisions in projects assessing young people’s sexual health, especially in African contexts. This short report uses original empirical data collected in Ghana in 2012 to assess the effects of data collection mode and interviewer gender on young people’s reporting of sexual health and access to supportive sexual health resources. The findings indicate that the effect of data collection mode may vary by gender, and there is no indication of an interviewer gender effect for males in this study. Preliminary results suggest that building strong rapport with research participants in this context may lead to reduced sexual health data quality. These findings merit further investigation and have direct implications for the design of projects measuring sexual health and related variables in Ghana. (Afr J Reprod Health 2015; 19[3]: 111-117).

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