Download The Survey Kit, 2nd edition, How to Conduct In-Person Interviews for Surveys 5 PDF

TitleThe Survey Kit, 2nd edition, How to Conduct In-Person Interviews for Surveys 5
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Total Pages112
Document Text Contents
Page 1

Sabine Mertens Oishi

How 0 Conduct
In Person

Interviews for


Page 2

THE SURVEY KIT, Second Edition

Purposes: The purposes of this lO-volume Kit are to enable readers to
prepare and conduct surveys and to help readers become better users of
survey results . Surveys are conducted to collect in formation; surveyors ask
questions of people on the telephone, face-to-face, and by mail. The ques­
tions can be about attitudes, beliefs, and behavior as well as socioeco­
nomic and heal th status. To do a good survey, one must know how to plan
and budget for all survey tasks, how to ask questions, how to design the
survey (research) project, how to sample respondents, how to collect reli­
able and valid information, and how to analyze and report the results.

Users: The Kit is for students in undergraduate and graduate classes in
the social and health sciences and for individuals in the public and private
sectors who are responsible for conducting and using surveys. Its primary
goal is to enable users to prepare surveys and collect data that are accurate
and useful for pri marily practical purposes. Sometimes, these practical pur­
poses overl ap with the objectives of scientific research, and so survey
researchers will also find the Kit useful.

Format of the Kit: All books in the series contain instructional objec­
tives, exercises and answers, examples of surveys in use and illustrations of
survey questions, guidelines for action, checklists of dos and don'ts, and
annotated references.

Volumes in The Survey Kit:

1. Tbe Survey Handbook, 2nd
Arlene Fink

2. How to Ask Survey Questions, 2nd
Arlene Fink

3. How to Conduct Self-Administered and Mail Surveys, 2nd
Linda B. Bourque and Eve P. Fielder

4. How to Conduct Telephone Surveys, 2nd

Linda B. Bourque and Eve P. Fielder

S. How to Conduct In-Person Interviews for Surveys, 2nd
Sabine M e7t ens Oishi

6. How to Design Survey Studies, 2nd
Arlene Fink

7. How to Sample in Surveys, 2nd
Arlene Fink

8. How to Assess and Interpret Smvey Psychometrics, 2nd
Mark S. Litwin

9. How to Manage, Analyze, and lnterpret Survey Data. 2nd
A rlene Fink

10. How to Report on Surveys, 2nd
A rlene Fink

lJ Sabine M ertens Oishi

(\j Howto Conduct

Interviews for ~ Surveys

?nd editlorl





f$\~~~§J~~Rl~9~~9~~ss,ona/ Publisher
~ Thousand Oaks. London • New Delhi

Page 56


• Summary statement: A brief description of the purpose
of the survey and the role of the interviewer

• Supervision: A description of how performance will be
monitored and evaluated and what level of in depeu­
dellCe is expected

• Duties and tasks: A list of the components of the work
the interviewer will be assigned (e.g., screening respon­
dents, by telephone or in person; administering ques­
tionnaires; filling out forms)

• Abilities, knowledge, and skills: A list of the qualifica­
tions-that is, what a good interviewer must know an d
be able to do-in specific terms, stating which are
required at the outset and which the interviewer will
be trained to do after hire

A good job description tells prospective interviewers
what to expect of the job and what will be expected of them
if they are hired. A job description such as the one in
Example 6.1 can be used to advertise the availability of inter­
viewer positions and recruit applican ts. When screening
applicants, the survey researcher should m atch the abilities,
knowledge, and skills shown on applicants ' resumes with the
abilities, knowledge, and skills reqUired for the particular
interviewer position. The qualifications listed in the job
description can also be used to formulate job interview ques­
tions about applicants' suitabili ty for the position. Even if
interviewers are being ch osen from existing staff at an orga­
nization implementing its own survey, candidates should be
screened an d interviewed.

How to Select, Train, and Supervise Interviewers

SampJe Job Description

Summary Statement The Acme Grocery Company
reqUires interviewers to administer an in-person
survey of customer satisfaction. The survey will be
administered to customers of selected Acme grocery
stores in the greater Los Angeles area during their
regular shopping time. Shoppers will receive a $5
grocery gift certificate for participation in the 15­
minute interview. Acme will use the survey results
to improve product selection and enhance market­
ing strategies.

Supervisioll Under general supervision of an outside sur­
vey team, interviewers will approach and survey
shoppers in grocery store locations. The survey team
will train interviewers in all procedures, monitor and
evaluate completed interviev"s for accuracy and com­
pleteness, and provide feedback as necessary.

Duties and Tasks Interviewers will approach shoppers
accordlng to a specific selection procedure.
Interviewers will enlist shopper coopera tion using
memorized scripts and obtain questionnaire
responses from those who agree to partidpate.
Questionnaires will be administered by computer~
assisted personal interview (CAPI) using laptop
computers at a small station set up n ear the
entrance of the store. Interviewers will record
responses an d edit completed interviews for errors
before submission to the survey team. Interviewers
will track and distribute $S grocery gift certificates
to shoppers who complete the survey.

Page 57


Example 6.1 col/til/ lied

Abilities, Knowledge, and Skills Interviewers must have
good reading, writing, and speaking abilities to read
questionnaire items and record responses in
English . They must also be available to conduct
in terviews durin g even ing and weekend hours and
to attend a half-day training session. General com­
puter literacy is required. Skills for selecting partici­
pants, enllsting customer cooperation, maintai ning
confidentiality, and administering questionnaires
using CAl)l technology will be taught.

The best interviewers are those who have a certain intu­
ition or talent for dealing with people in an engaging and
professional manner. Intuition and talent are not measurable
qualities. They surface as trained interviewers begin testing
their skills in practice sessions and on the job.


Once interviewers have been selected and have accepted job
offers, they must be trained. The depth and detail of inter­
viewer training materials will vary with the survey project.
Training procedures usually include some combination of
the following elements: a training manual; lechu es, presen­
tations, and discussions; practice; observation; and field

Training manual. The training manual is an important docu­
ment, both for teaching interviewers how to do their jobs
and for interviewers to use as a reference on the job. The
manual provides context for the interviewer, describes the
in terviewer's obligations, and outlin es interviewing tech-

How to Select, Train, and Supervise Interviewers

niques. The next ma jor section of this chapter is devoted to a
detailed discussion of the contents of the training manual.

Lectures, presentations, and discussions. Whenever possible,
training procedures should include formal training sessions.
During such sessions, the material in the training manual is
presented orally by a trainer who is experienced in survey
work and interviewing. Important skills and a model inter­
view are demonstrated. A later section of this chapter focuses
on the purposes and content of interviewer training sessions .

Practice. The training sessions should provide trainees with
ample opportunities for supervised practice. After seeing an
interview demonstrated, trainees should take turns role-playing
the parts of both the interviewer and the respondent.
Trainees should also interview the trainer, who can impro­
vise difficult or un usual responses. The trainer should
observe the role-playing and give direct feedback to trainees.
If available, volunteer respondents (e.g. , other survey staff
members) could be brought in for trainees to interview after
practicing among themselves. Trainees should be encour­
aged to perform as many simulated interviews (with friends,
relatives, neighbors) as they can to become familiar with the
survey instrument. Each trainee can also conduct a mock in­
person interview of the trainer for further training and ulti­
mately for testing purposes.

Obselvatiol1. If a new group of interviewers is being trained
for an ongoing project, it can be useful for the trainer to have
them observe veteran interviewers on the job. This is possi­
ble if respondents are willing to give permission to have their
interviews observed, but the survey team must weigh the
advantage this method has for t raining in terviewers against
the possibility that the trainees' presence will influence
respondents' answers. An alternative approach would be to
have trainees listen to audiotapes of interviews or watch
interviews on videotape. (If the survey plan includes record­
ing a few real interviews for training purposes, this may

Page 111


Response rate- The proportion of eligible respondents who
actually complete the interview. If there are a large
number of refusals, the response rate will be low, mak­
ing the survey's results less meaningful.

Skip pattern-An instruction to the interviewer regarding
how to move through the questionnaire depending on
the respondent's answers. For example, "If the answer to
question 1 is yes, continue with question 2. If the
answer is no, skip to question 7." Skipping instructions
are printed on the page in paper questionnaires. In
CAPI, the computer does the skipping automatically.

Socially desirable response-An answer that a respondent
gives because he or she thinks it is the "politically cor­
rect" response or what the interviewer wants to hear
(rather than what the respondent really thinks).

Standardization-The process of keeping variations in
interview administration to a minimum so that every
respondent hears the same questions and response
choices and is not influenced by the interviewer's per­

Survey-A system for collecting information from or about
people to describe, compare, or explain their knowl­
edge, attitudes, and behavior. In-person interviews are
one method for collecting survey information.

Transition statement-A statement within the question­
naire that introduces a new topic, separates topic sec­
tions, or announces a change in format (such as a new
response set). The interviewer reads all transition state­
ments to the respondent as written.

Validation check-A procedure in which an interviewing
supervisor recontacts a respondent to confirm that the
interview was carried out correctly, usually by repeating
certain interview questions (questions for which the
answers would not have changed over time, such as
birth date). Validation checks may reveal fal sified inter­
views and poor interviewing practices.

About theAuthor

Sabine Mertens Oishi holds an M.S.P.H. degree in epidemi­
ology from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is
currently the project manager of the UCLA-based coordinat­
ing center for Project IMPACT, a multisite national study
evaluating a care model for late-life depression using in­
person and telephone interviewing. She has been a
researcher with Arlene Fink Associates, PacifiC Palisades,
California, where she was involved in program evaluations
of health and social services programs and health profes­
sional training programs. She has participated in a variety of
research projects at UCLA, RAND, and the Veterans
Administration Medical Center in Sepulveda, California. As a
Peace Corps volunteer, she participated in the implementa­
tion of an in-person knowledge, attitude, and practice survey
for diarrheal disease in urban and rural Liberia, West Africa,
in collaboration with the Liberian Ministry of Health and
Social Welfare, U.S. Peace Corps, and USAID.


Page 112

"The discussion of qualitative interviewing is a good addition, and the discussion of
translating survey questions is very good. "

- Juanita M. Firestone, University of Texas, San Antonio

"The security of data and the transitions sections are very useful for students."
-Dan Johnson, University of North Carolina, Wilmington

This volume is aimed at helping readers prepare and administer effective in-person
survey interviews. Beginning with the administrative considerations involved in setting up
in-person interviews, Oishi explains how to:

• Write interview questions from a flowing interview script with appropriately placed

transition statements

• Prepare useful visual aids
• Design an eligibility screen
• Write preletters and scripts for a precall
• Develop job descriptions for interviewers
• Design interviewer training sessions
• Record and correct response errors in paper and CAPI interviews
• Clean the data

Completely revised, the book also includes updated coverage of:
• Cultural considerations for in-person interviews
• Translation of interviews into other languages
• Differences in quantitative and qualitative interview styles
• CAPI interviews as well as the program instructions
• Expanded coverage of the role of the supervisor, including a sample of a full

training manual

• Methods for creating an appropriate environment for in-person interviews, including

how to dress and talk to people
• Informed consent, including a sample consent form

B=Dks in The Survey Kit 2nd edition:
The Survey Handbook, 2nd How to Conduct In-Person How to Manage, Analyze,
Arlene Fink Interviews for Surveys, 2nd and Interpret Survey Data,
Volume 1 / ISBN 0-7619-2580-5/ pb Sabine Mertens Oishi 2nd

Volume 5 / ISBN 0-7619-2570-8 / pb Arlene Fink
How to Ask Survey Questions, Volume 9/ ISBN 0-7619-2576-7 / pb
2nd How to Design Survey Studies,
Arlene Fink 2nd How to Report on Surveys,
Volume 2 / ISBN 0-7619-2579-1/ pb Arlene Fink 2nd

Volume 6 /ISBN 0-7619-2578-3 / pb Arlene Fink
How to Conduct Self­ Volume 10/ ISBN 0-7619-2575-9 / pb
Administered and Mail Surveys, How to Sample in Surveys,
2nd 2nd
Linda B. Bourque, Eve P. Fielder Arlene Fink
Volume 3/ ISBN 0-7619-2562-7 / pb Volume 7 / ISBN 0-7619-2577-5 / pb

How to Conduct Telephone How to Assess and Interpret
Surveys, 2nd Survey Psychometrics, 2nd THE COMPLETE SURVEY KIT
Linda B. Bourque, Eve P. Fielder Mark S. Litwin

Volumes 1-10 / ISBN 0-7619-2510-4
Volume 4 / ISBN 0-761 9-2591-0/ pb Volume 8 / ISBN 0-7619-2561-9 / pb

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