Many steps are required to ensure that the data properly reflect the situations they intend to describe and that data are comparable across countries. The DHS Program has developed standard procedures, methodologies, manuals, and videos to guide the survey process.
Standard Model Questionnaires have been developed, along with a written description of why certain questions or sections have been included.
Geographic Information System (GIS)
The DHS Program routinely collects geographic information in all surveyed countries. Using GIS, researchers can link DHS data with routine health data, health facility locations, local infrastructure such as roads and rivers, and environmental conditions.
Biomarkers are objective physical or biologic measures of health conditions. For years, DHS surveys have gathered data on height and weight to evaluate nutritional status of women and children and collected blood samples to test for HIV, anemia, malaria, and other biomarkers. In all, DHS surveys have performed more than 10 million biomarkers tests.
Protecting the Privacy of DHS Survey Respondents
The DHS Program maintains strict standards for protecting the privacy of respondents and household members in all DHS surveys.
The standard DHS methodology documentation is also available in the Demographic and Health Surveys toolkit. The toolkit provides working documents, organized by survey stage.