Quality and Quantity

, Volume 40, Issue 6, pp 983–1011 | Cite as

Question-Answer Sequences in Survey-Interviews

  • Wil DijkstraEmail author
  • Yfke Ongena


Interaction analysis was used to analyze a total of 14,265 question–answer sequences of (Q-A Sequences) 80 questions that originated from two face-to-face and three telephone surveys. The analysis was directed towards the causes and effects of particular interactional problems. Our results showed that problematic respondent behavior is affected by the questionnaire design, whereas inadequate interviewer behavior is affected by respondent behavior, rather than directly by the questionnaire design. Two surveys used questions for which validating information was available. It appeared that the occurrence of such irregularities of interviewer and respondent behavior was related to the validity of the eventual responses. Explanations for the occurrence of problematic respondent behavior were proposed, concerning both cognitive and conversational factors, related to the wording of questions and response alternatives.


behavior coding interaction analysis question–answer sequence question wording response error survey-interview 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Research MethodologyFree UniversityAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Social Research Methodology, FSWVrije UniversiteitAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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