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Interviewer Effects

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Edited by: Published: 2008
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In many surveys, interviewers play an important role in the data collection process. They can be effective in gaining cooperation of the sample persons, helping clarify survey tasks, or motivating the respondent to provide complete and accurate answers. Thus, interviewers can contribute to data quality, but they can also contribute to measurement error. Interviewers can affect respondents' answers through their mere presence as well as their behaviors when administering the survey.

There are several ways in which interviewers seem to influence respondents' answers. First, the presence of an interviewer can stimulate respondents to take social norms into account when answering a survey question. Pressure to conform to social norms can lead to the underreporting of socially undesirable behavior and the overreporting of socially desirable behavior. ...

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