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“Interviewer” Effects in Face-to-Face Surveys: A Function of Sampling, Measurement Error, or Nonresponse?


  • West Brady T.

    () (Survey Methodology Program (SMP), Survey Research Center (SRC), Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, 426 Thompson Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48106, U.S.A.)

  • Kreuter Frauke

    () (Joint Program in Survey Methodology (JPSM), Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg, Germany)

  • Jaenichen Ursula

    () (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg, Germany)


Recent research has attempted to examine the proportion of interviewer variance that is due to interviewers systematically varying in their success in obtaining cooperation from respondents with varying characteristics (i.e., nonresponse error variance), rather than variance among interviewers in systematic measurement difficulties (i.e., measurement error variance) - that is, whether correlated responses within interviewers arise due to variance among interviewers in the pools of respondents recruited, or variance in interviewer-specific mean response biases. Unfortunately, work to date has only considered data from a CATI survey, and thus suffers from two limitations: Interviewer effects are commonly much smaller in CATI surveys, and, more importantly, sample units are often contacted by several CATI interviewers before a final outcome (response or final refusal) is achieved. The latter introduces difficulties in assigning nonrespondents to interviewers, and thus interviewer variance components are only estimable under strong assumptions. This study aims to replicate this initial work, analyzing data from a national CAPI survey in Germany where CAPI interviewers were responsible for working a fixed subset of cases.

Suggested Citation

  • West Brady T. & Kreuter Frauke & Jaenichen Ursula, 2013. "“Interviewer” Effects in Face-to-Face Surveys: A Function of Sampling, Measurement Error, or Nonresponse?," Journal of Official Statistics, Sciendo, vol. 29(2), pages 277-297, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:vrs:offsta:v:29:y:2013:i:2:p:277-297:n:6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jan Pickery & Geert Loosveldt, 2002. "A Multilevel Multinomial Analysis of Interviewer Effects on Various Components of Unit Nonresponse," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 36(4), pages 427-437, November.
    2. Bender, Stefan & Heining, Jörg, 2011. "The Research-Data-Centre in Research-Data-Centre approach : a first step towards decentralised international data sharing," FDZ Methodenreport 201107_en, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    3. Thomas K. Bauer & Regina Flake & Mathias G. Sinning, 2013. "Labor Market Effects of Immigration: Evidence from Neighborhood Data," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(2), pages 370-385, May.
    4. Pamela Campanelli & Colm O'Muircheartaigh, 1999. "Interviewers, Interviewer Continuity, and Panel Survey Nonresponse," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 59-76, February.
    5. repec:zbw:rwirep:0257 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Mark Trappman & Stefanie Gundert & Claudia Wenzig & Daniel Gebhardt, 2010. "PASS – A Household Panel Survey for Research on Unemployment and Poverty," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 130(4), pages 609-622.
    7. Christoph, Bernhard & Müller, Gerrit & Gebhardt, Daniel & Wenzig, Claudia & Trappmann, Mark & Achatz, Juliane & Tisch, Anita & Gayer, Christine, 2008. "Codebook and documentation of the panel study 'Labour Market and Social Security' (PASS) : vol. 1: Introduction and overview, wave 1 (2006/2007)," FDZ Datenreport. Documentation on Labour Market Data 200805_en, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
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