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Understanding Society Working Paper Series 2016-06

Is that still the same? Has that changed? On the accuracy of measuring change with dependent interviewing


Publication date

22 Aug 2016


We experimentally test how best to word proactive dependent interviewing questions, whereby respondents are reminded of their answer in the previous interview, before being asked about their current situation. First we test for differences in reporting of change between possible wording formats including independent interviewing, second we examine potential mechanisms
through which the wording may affect responses, and third we link to administrative records to assert which wording provides the most accurate measures of change. The overall results suggest that reminding respondents of their previous answer and then asking “Is that still the case?” produces the most accurate data on change and stability experienced by individuals.

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