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Causes of mode effects: separating out interviewer and stimulus effects in comparisons of face-to-face and telephone surveys


  • Roberts, Caroline
  • Jäckle, Annette


We attempt to isolate the causes of mode effects on measurement in a comparison of face-to-face and telephone interviewing, distinguishing between effects caused by differences in the type of question stimulus used in each mode (audio vs. visual) and effects caused by other differences between the modes, notably, the presence or absence of the interviewer. We use data from an experiment conducted in the context of the European Social Survey. Differences in the stimulus did not lead to differential measurement error, but the presence or absence of the interviewer did. Telephone respondents were far more likely to give socially desirable responses than face-to-face respondents.

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  • Roberts, Caroline & Jäckle, Annette, 2012. "Causes of mode effects: separating out interviewer and stimulus effects in comparisons of face-to-face and telephone surveys," ISER Working Paper Series 2012-27, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2012-27

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    1. Annette J‰ckle & Caroline Roberts & Peter Lynn, 2010. "Assessing the Effect of Data Collection Mode on Measurement," International Statistical Review, International Statistical Institute, vol. 78(1), pages 3-20, April.
    2. Anders Wikman & Bo Wärneryd, 1990. "Measurement errors in survey questions: Explaining response variability," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 199-212, March.
    3. Andy Peytchev & Lisa R. Carley-Baxter & Michele C. Black, 2011. "Multiple Sources of Nonobservation Error in Telephone Surveys: Coverage and Nonresponse," Sociological Methods & Research, , vol. 40(1), pages 138-168, February.
    4. Jäckle, Annette & Roberts, Caroline & Lynn, Peter, 2006. "Telephone versus face-to-face interviewing: mode effects on data quality and likely causes: report on phase II of the ESS-Gallup mixed mode methodology project," ISER Working Paper Series 2006-41, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
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