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First Impressions of Telephone Survey Interviewers

Jessica Broome
Published Online: 2015-12-16 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jos-2015-0037


Survey nonresponse may increase the chances of nonresponse error, and different interviewers contribute differentially to nonresponse. This article first addresses the relationship between initial impressions of interviewers in survey introductions and the outcome of these introductions, and then contrasts this relationship with current viewpoints and practices in telephone interviewing. The first study described here exposed judges to excerpts of interviewer speech from actual survey introductions and asked them to rate twelve characteristics of the interviewer. Impressions of positive traits such as friendliness and confidence had no association with the actual outcome of the call, while higher ratings of “scriptedness” predicted lower participation likelihood. At the same time, a second study among individuals responsible for training telephone interviewers found that when training interviewers, sounding natural or unscripted during a survey introduction is not emphasized. This article concludes with recommendations for practice and further research.

Keywords: Survey; telephone; nonresponse; interviewer

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About the article

Received: 2012-11-01

Revised: 2015-02-01

Accepted: 2015-03-01

Published Online: 2015-12-16

Published in Print: 2015-12-01

Citation Information: Journal of Official Statistics, Volume 31, Issue 4, Pages 611–625, ISSN (Online) 2001-7367, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jos-2015-0037.

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© 2015 Jessica Broome, published by De Gruyter Open. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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