Modelling interviewer-effects in the European Social Survey

English title: Modelling interviewer-effects in the European Social Survey

Author(s): G. Loosveldt - M. Phillipens -

Language: English

Type: Conference paper/poster

Year: 2004


Survey researchers are since long concerned with the fact that interviewers can introduce an additional source of variation in survey-estimates. It is assumed that this is most likely to occur when interviewer behaviour departs from standardized procedures. In this paper we argue that the frequency of idiosyncratic interviewer behaviour and accordingly the size of interviewer-variance are mainly a function of the quality of the survey organisation (e.g. quality of interviewer training) and the amount of problems respondents encounter when answering questions. In order to test this proposition we used data from several countries participating in the European Social Survey (ESS). By comparing the size of interviewer-variance across countries we hope to learn more about the factors and conditions that influence the presence of interviewer-effects. In a first section of this paper we will test whether countries differ significantly with respect to the size of interviewer-variance on a set of items designed to measure ethnocentrism attitudes. This will be done by modelling interviewer-variance as a function of the respondent’s country in a multilevel regression model. Next, we will introduce to our model a number of variables associated with the answering behaviour of the respondent - i.e. degree of understanding questions, motivation and reluctance (as evaluated by the interviewer) and presence of item-nonresponse. This will allow assessing whether and to which extent country-differences of interviewer-variance can be attributed to differences in problematic respondent behaviour. Finally, we will try to explain the remaining country differences in interviewer-variance by comparing the quality of survey organisation across countries.

Conference name: Sixth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

Location: Amsterdam

Start date: Aug 16, 2004

Type: Paper

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