Journal of Official Statistics, Vol.20, No.2, 2004. pp. 185218

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Calendar and Question-List Survey Methods: Association Between Interviewer Behaviors and Data Quality

Insights are provided on the role of retrieval and conversational properties of Event History Calendars (EHCs) that promote higher quality retrospective reports than do standardized question-list (Q-list) methods. A verbal behavior coding analysis of 218 EHC and 197 Q-list interviews revealed significantly more behaviors in the EHC condition that indicated the use of timeline retrieval strategies and conversational engagement. Analyses of data quality measures demonstrate that there is not a significantly greater degree of interviewer variation on data quality in the EHC method. Better data quality was associated with a higher prevalence of retrieval cues, a greater degree of response openness, and lower levels of cognitive difficulty and rapport. The association of data quality and verbal behavior also interacted with method: retrieval cues and cognitive difficulty were directly associated with EHC response quality and indirectly associated with Q-list quality; rapport behaviors had a more detrimental effect on Q-list data quality.

Survey interviewing, response error, interviewer effects, interviewing style, autobiographical memory, retrospective reports, behavior coding

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