Do Interviewers with High Cooperation Rates Behave Differently? Interviewer Cooperation Rates and Interview Behaviors

Kristen Olson, Antje Kirchner, Jolene Smyth


Interviewers are required to be flexible in responding to respondent
concerns during recruitment, but standardized during administration of the
questionnaire. These skill sets may be at odds. Recent research has shown a
U-shaped relationship between interviewer cooperation rates and interviewer
variance: the least and the most successful interviewers during recruitment have
the largest interviewer variance components. Little is known about why this
association occurs. We posit four hypotheses for this association: 1) interviewers
with higher cooperation rates more conscientious interviewers altogether, 2)
interviewers with higher cooperation rates continue to use rapport behaviors
from the cooperation request throughout an interview, 3) interviewers with
higher cooperation rates display more confidence which translates into different
interview behavior, and 4) interviewers with higher cooperation rates continue
their flexible interviewing style throughout the interview and deviate more from
standardized interviewing. We use behavior codes from the Work and Leisure
Today Survey (n=450, AAPOR RR3=6.3%) to evaluate interviewer behavior.
Our results largely support the confidence hypothesis. Interviewers with higher
cooperation rates do not show evidence of being “better” interviewers.

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