Using Interviewer-respondent Interaction Coding as a Manipulation Check on Interviewer Behavior in Persuading CATI Respondents

Yfke Ongena, Marieke Haan


This paper shows how interaction coding of interviewer-respondent interactions
was used to perform manipulation checks of CATI interviewer behavior in
experimental studies. An experiment in which interviewers were instructed to
persuade potential respondents by means of a personal style or a formal style
showed no significant effects of the persuasion style on survey participation. By
means of interviewer-respondent interaction analysis, we studied the interviews
in more depth focusing on the compliance of interviewers with the instructions.
First, we found that many respondents immediately complied, but when
respondents were reluctant, using any form of persuasion was better than none.
Second, interviewers also had success in gaining cooperation when they referred
to an argument that they had not been instructed to use. In conclusion, we
assume that interviewers using arguments in which they were trained develop
too much of an unauthentic routine in expressing these arguments, whereas
using arguments outside instructions are likely to be expressed in a more
natural, spontaneous way and are therefore more convincing. In addition, this
study shows that it is useful to include behavior coding as a manipulation check
in experiments involving interviewer behavior.

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