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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2008 Sep 1;49 Suppl 1:S52-8. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e318184481a.

Designing an audio computer-assisted self-interview (ACASI) system in a multisite trial: a brief report.



To describe the advantages and limitations of an audio computer-assisted self-interview (ACASI) system in a multisite trial with African American couples and to present the steps in designing, testing, and implementing a system.


The ACASI system evolved from a paper and pencil interview that was pilot tested. Based on this initial work, the paper and pencil interview was translated into storyboards that were the basis of the development of ACASI system. Storyboards consisted of 1 page per question and provided the programmers with the test of the question, valid responses, and any instructions that were to be read to the participants. Storyboards were further translated into flow diagrams representing each module of the survey and illustrating the skip patterns used to navigate a participant through the survey. Provisions were also made to insert a face-to-face interview, into the ACASI assessment process, to elicit sexual abuse history data, which typically requires specially trained data collectors with active listening skills to help participants reframe and coordinate times, places and, emotionally difficult memories.


The ACASI was successfully developed and implemented in the main trial. During an exit interview, respondents indicated that they liked using the ACASI and indicating that they favored it as the method to answer questions.


It is feasible to implement an ACASI system in a multisite study in a timely and efficient way.

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