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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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II Detection and Prevention of Falsification in Survey Practice


Concepts and Practices in Interviewer Qualification and Monitoring Birgit Jesske Abstract The main goal of quantitative survey research is collecting data under standardized conditions. The use of interviewers in particular is known to bring with it the risk of errors, variable behavior and uncontrollable interview situations. Standards and rules for interviewing are intended to guide the interviewers’ behavior within the inter- view situation. These can be imparted by means of intensive training sessions and extensive training materials. Interviewer compliance can be ensured by means of a monitoring process throughout the data collection phase. This monitoring work al- lows the institute to quickly identify and remedy any deviant behavior or errors that may occur. This article introduces the standards and standard methods used for in- terviewer training and monitoring at infas – the Institute for Applied Social Scienc- es. They are designed to flexibly meet the requirements of complex surveys for sci- entific purposes. They have their origins in the experience and standards for surveys conducted by infas and are being continually adapted and improved. Background – Standardised Data Collection The primary aim of a standardised approach to collecting survey data is to en- sure the validity and reliability of the results. The standardisation therefore needs to cover not only the individual wording of questions and the structure of the survey instruments but also their implementation and the way the interview- ers address the respondents. The interviewing standards1 stipulate how to pre- sent a question to the respondent, which explanations interviewers are allowed...

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