Phone surveys can be an especially difficult mode over which to collect sensitive data. IPA Colombia conducted phone surveys in May and June, 2020 to understand how the organized crime groups of Medellín were responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. This necessitated asking sensitive questions about organized crime and illegal activities, specifically, extortion, perception of the drug market, and behavior of criminal groups. It can be particularly difficult to build trust over the phone, especially when the respondent cannot easily confirm who they are speaking to.

The project team conducted an extensive piloting process to test multiple strategies for building trust and designing questionnaires. After completing this process, they catalogued a set of best practices for phone surveying with sensitive questions based on their experience.

, Cristian David CereroJuan Pablo Mesa
Publication type: 
Phone Survey Methods Resource
January 25, 2021