Conference Paper University of Konstanz, Empirical Social Research seminar
The Effects of Interviewer Characteristics on Co-operation in Face-to-Face Surveys
24 Jun 2009
This paper examines the role of interviewers’ experience, attitudes, personality traits and inter-personal skills in determining survey co-operation. We take the perspective that these characteristics influence interviewers’ behaviour and hence influence the doorstep interaction between interviewer and sample member. Previous studies of the association between doorstep behaviour and co-operation have not directly addressed the role of personality traits and inter-personal skills and have been based on small samples of interviewers, making it difficult to identify interviewer-level effects. We use a large sample of 845 face-to-face interviewers working for a major survey institute and analyse co-operation outcomes for over 100,000 cases contacted by those interviewers over a 13-month period. We examine to what extent previous studies’ findings of an association between interviewer experience and co-operation propensity, and between interviewer socio-demographic characteristics and co-operation propensity, are explained by differences in personality traits and inter-personal skills. We also seek to identify whether variation in traits and skills contribute to variation in co-operation rates after controlling for other interviewer characteristics.