Digital interviews

To prevent systematic positive reporting bias, I conducted interactive voice response (IVR) surveys. I was particularly intrigued about this digital technology, which uses automated phone calls to reach out to people. IVR technology is incredibly fast and affordable compared to manual telephone interviews. Another advantage of IVR is its simplicity. The process requires questionnaire recording and its uploading to a special website with TVET graduates’ mobile phone numbers. In this case, I am interested in the employment rate, so I record relevant questions, such as Are you currently employed? If yes, press 1; if no, press 2 in the country’s two official languages, Sinhala and Tamil. SMS was also used for prior notification so that respondents knew when the IVR surveys were initiated. The IVR surveys were rolled out typically on evenings or weekends to improve the response rate. It seemed like all the ideal conditions were in place for piloting IVR surveys... —