Techniques for communication repair in the standardized telephone interview

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It is hardly possible to conduct a standardized interview in ideal conditions for it is a part of everyday interactions. Therefore, deviations from standardization, bias and mistakes in communication are the realities of public opinion polls. Key biases in information transfer are mainly determined by the characteristics of the respondent (age, sex, education, social status, etc.) and his behavior. However, the interviewer behavior is also important which explains the attention of methodological works to the interviewer effect, his actions and attitudes that lead to serious mistakes in measurement or recruiting. In verbal interaction, the interviewer can explain survey questions in his own way, comment or clarify responses. Standardization can also be violated by other circumstances such as interruptions in telephone network, intervention of third parties, technical problems (software malfunction), structure of the questionnaire and so on. Thus, there are three main sources of measurement error in the standardized interview: respondent, interviewer, and context. The qualified and experienced interviewer more successfully identify problems and find ways to solve them and repair communication. The article presents examples of such ways from the database of transcripts of three RDD ACATI surveys conducted by the Laboratory for Social Research Methodology of the Russian Presidential Academy for National Economy and Public Administration in 2017 to identify key types of successful interviewer decisions. They are considered in three dimensions: adequate responses, communication and standardization. Thus, successful interview is not just a completed questionnaire but also relevant answers, informed consent and positive emotional attitude.

About the authors

A A Ipatova

Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration

Author for correspondence.
Prechistenskaya Nab., 11-1, Moscow, Russia, 119034

D M Rogozin

Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration

Prechistenskaya Nab., 11-1, Moscow, Russia, 119034


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