Do Interviewer Errors Help Explain the Impact of Question Characteristics on Respondent Difficulties?

Allyson L. Holbrook, Timothy P. Johnson, Young Ik Cho, Sharon Shavitt, Noel Chavez, Saul Weiner


Respondents, interviewers, and questions are all sources of potential error in
responses to survey questions. Using behavior coding to measure respondent
problems and interviewer errors, we assess whether question characteristics
influences these behaviors. We also assess whether interviewer errors may help
to explain the impact of question characteristics on respondent difficulties.
Specifically, we assess whether more difficult questions (e.g., longer or more
difficult to read) lead to more respondent problems (e.g., answers that do not fit
the requirements of the question) at least in part because more difficult questions
also lead to interviewer errors (e.g., deviating from the reading the question as
written or failing to probe correctly).

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