Journal of Official Statistics, Vol.4, No.4, 1988. pp. 375384

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Interviewer Variance in a Telephone Survey

This article investigates the interviewer variance component for data obtained from a computer-assisted telephone survey. A maximum likelihood procedure based on a beta-binomial model is proposed to estimate this variance component for proportions. It is found that in 9 out of 21 categories the interviewer variance component is significant. The largest values of this variance component were found for the “refusal” and “don't know” categories. Comparing the results of this study with the literature on interviewing variance, it is found that the interviewer variance component in our example is within the range of values common for telephone interviewing. In general these values seem to be smaller than the values obtained for face to face interviewing.

Interviewer variance; binary response; beta-binomial distribution; maximum likelihood.

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