Journal of Official Statistics, Vol.17, No.2, 2001. pp. 249–265

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A Theory-Guided Interviewer Training Protocol Regarding’Survey Participation

A theory of survey participation suggests that sample individuals engage in more thorough cognitive processing of the survey request when their concerns about the request are addressed by the interviewer. When the concerns are satisfactorily addressed, the interview becomes a more attractive option; when they are not, a refusal tends to occur. This theory has implications for the training of interviewers in recruiting sample individuals to be respondents. A training regimen was constructed that assembled concerns perceived by senior interviewers to be common, taught trainees to classify concerns (using the terminology of the respondents) into themes, taught trainees facts to communicate regarding those concerns, and drilled the trainees in rapid, natural delivery of those facts using terminology compatible with that of the sample person. Two experimental tests of the training regimen show increases in cooperation rates for interviewers who receive the training.

Nonresponse; interviewer training.

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