West, Brady, and Frauke Kreuter. 2011. "Observational Strategies Associated with Increased Accuracy of Interviewer Observations: Evidence from the National Survey of Family Growth." Joint Statistical Meetings Proceedings,
Survey researchers are increasingly interested in obtaining as much auxiliary information on all sample units as possible, given trends of declining response rates in surveys of all formats worldwide. Surveys conducted using in-person (or 'face-to-face') interviews therefore often request that interviewers collect observations on key features of selected households, given that interviewers are the eyes and ears of the survey organization out in the field. Unfortunately, recent studies have suggested that these observations are prone to error, and that the errors may decrease the effectiveness of nonresponse adjustments based in part on the observations. In addition, no studies have investigated the strategies being used by interviewers in the field when they are making these observations, or addressed the question of whether certain observational strategies improve the accuracy of the observations. This paper examines the associations of observational strategies used by field interviewers collecting face-to-face interviews from a large area probability sample with the accuracy of observations collected by those interviewers. A qualitative analysis shows that certain strategies are in fact associated with increased accuracy of the observations, and recommendations for future practice are presented.
Country of focus: United States.