Real-time Automated Surveys among Low-literate Masses using Voice-based Telephone Services

Agha Ali Raza, Samia Razaq, Amna Raja, Rizwan Naru, Ali Gibran, Abdullah Sabri, Haroon Niaz, Muhammad Bilal Saleem, Umar Saif
This paper explores the use of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems for automatic surveys, data validation and prescreening. We report a deployment aimed at employing voice-based, telephone services to conduct automated, structured interviews of low-literate users and to advertise relevant development-related services to them. Survey calls were placed to 67,000 recipients of vocational training to validate their phone numbers and to find out their current job status. Of these, 45,500 answered these calls and 11,500 (25%) responded to the survey questions. Manually conducted follow-up interviews found more than 70% of the survey results to be consistent and also revealed the impact of phone sharing (among family members), call timing, simplicity of interface and surveyor-participant interpretation mismatch regarding certain survey questions on participant involvement and validity of survey results.