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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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I Methods for Identification of Falsifications


A Literature Review of Methods to Detect Fabricated Survey Data Sebastian Bredl, Nina Storfinger, Natalja Menold Abstract This paper reviews literature dealing with the issue of detecting interviewers who falsify survey data. The most reliable method of detecting falsifiers is through face- to-face reinterviewing of survey participants. However, especially in large scale sur- veys only a limited number of participants can usually be reinterviewed. A review of the present literature clearly indicates that reinterviewing is more effective if the re- interview sample is based on some indicators that might comprise metadata, survey data, or interviewer characteristics. We examine relevant literature with regard to the suitability of different types of indicators that have been used in this context. Keywords: Interviewer falsification, quality control of survey data, reinterview Acknowledgements Financial support through the DFG in project WI 2024/2-1; ME 3538/2-1 within SPP 1292 is gratefully acknowledged. Furthermore we would like to thank Andreas Diekmann, Gesine Güllner and Peter Winker for their valuable comments on previ- ous versions of the paper. Introduction In economic and social research, survey data is often the cornerstone of empiri- cal investigations. Several factors that may impair the quality of such data dur- ing the period of field work, such as systematic non-response or interviewer ef- fects on response behaviour, have gained attention in literature. Another im- portant factor that has not received as much attention thus far is the conscious deviation from prescribed procedures by the interviewer, which is referred to as interviewer falsification (Schreiner...

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