What is the difference between an “open recall” and a “list-based” questionnaire? How can I choose one or the other?

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In a qualitative open recall, the enumerator asks a series of standard probing questions to help the respondent recall all foods and drinks consumed the previous day and night, and also probes for main ingredients in mixed dishes. The recall is “open” because the enumerator does not read predefined foods/groups to the respondent.

When a list-based questionnaire is used, the enumerator does read a list of foods to the respondent. The enumerator informs respondents that they should respond “yes” for each food consumed during the specified recall period of the previous day and night. The enumerator continues by reading a list of foods organized in groups, giving multiple examples for each food group.

Both methods are described in Section 1 of Minimum Dietary Diversity for Women – A guide to measurement, and Table 2 lists advantages and disadvantages of each method. Based on an evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages, the open recall is recommended, whenever feasible.

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