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Interviewers’ Deviations in Surveys

Impact, Reasons, Detection and Prevention


Edited By Peter Winker, Natalja Menold and Rolf Porst

Survey data are used in many disciplines including Social Sciences, Economics and Psychology. Interviewers’ behaviour might affect the quality of such data. This book presents the results of new research on interviewers’ motivation and behaviour. A substantial number of contributions address deviant behaviour, methods for assessing the impact of such behaviour on data quality and tools for detecting faked interviews. Further chapters discuss methods for preventing undesirable interviewer effects. Apart from specific methodological contributions, the chapters of the book also provide a unique collection of examples of deviant behaviour and its detection – a topic not overly present in literature despite its substantial prevalence in survey field work. The volume includes 13 peer reviewed papers presented at an international workshop in Rauischholzhausen in October 2011.


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Interviewers’ Deviations in Surveys – Impact, Reasons,Detection and Prevention. Peter Winker, Natalja Menold and Rolf Porst


Interviewers’ Deviations in Surveys – Impact, Reasons, Detection and Prevention Peter Winker, Natalja Menold and Rolf Porst Topic Survey data still represent a major, if not the major input to empirical research in all fields of social sciences ranging from sociology and political sciences to eco- nomics, but also in neighboring fields of research, e.g. in psychology or educa- tional research. While other modes of data collection, in particular online sur- veys, gained importance over the last couple of years, interviews conducted by interviewers still play a prominent role when it comes to collect high quality da- ta. This applies particularly to face to face interviews. There exists a huge and still growing literature on the effects of survey mode on data quality addressing issues related both to sampling and non-sampling er- rors. Also framing effects resulting from the form, structure and specific word- ing of a questionnaire have been analyzed in some detail. Finally, interviewer effects in the sense of affecting respondents’ behavior have been subject to anal- ysis. All these components are highly relevant for the generation of high quality data. However, a further aspect appears to be considered in less detail, at least when judging according to published research, namely interviewers’ deviations from prescribed standards in surveys. Obviously, such deviations might affect data quality at least to the same extent as the other topics just mentioned. Given the relative scarcity of literature on interviewers’ deviant behavior, a workshop was held at the Justus-Liebig-University aiming to collect internation- al...

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