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Activity Number: 476
Type: Contributed
Date/Time: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 : 8:30 AM to 10:20 PM
Sponsor: Section on Survey Research Methods
Abstract - #304152
Title: What's the Chance? Interviewers' Expectations of Response in the 2010 SCF
Author(s): Arthur Kennickell*+
Companies: Federal Reserve Board
Address: Mail Stop 153, Washington, DC, 20551-0001, United States
Keywords: Paradata ; Expectations ; Nonresponse

For in-person surveys, the negotiation between a respondent and an interviewer is a game of chance where skill is important. A prioi, it is generally not known whether any given case will be resolved as complete or incomplete, though there may be general knowledge about what "types" of respondents may tend to be relatively difficult to interview. Aside from the tools that may help to frame the interaction between the respondent and the interviewer (e.g., advance letters, brochures, monetary incentives, etc.), the interviewer must rely on his or her skill in listening to the respondent and providing information tailored to the concerns of questions of the respondent. Through selection over time, successful interviewers must inevitably have skills of this sort. The key question addressed in this paper is whether interviewers have information that allows them to assess the likely outcome of their work while they are in the midst of doing it. This question is of interest for a number of reasons, but the issue that motivated this investigation was the possibility that interviewers' expectations (and those of their managers) might influence the patterns of work that lead to the ultimate distribution of outcomes and thereby distort straightforward analysis of those patterns.

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