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Cognitive Interviewing in Survey Design: State of the Science and Future Directions


Survey pretesting, and cognitive interviewing in particular, are important elements of survey development, and contributions from psychology have made cognitive interviewing one of the most powerful and widely used pretesting tools in survey research. However, widely accepted best practices for cognitive interviewing have been elusive and much of what is done in practice tends to be idiosyncratic, and this provides an extremely important area for future research. This chapter provides an overview of cognitive interviewing and suggests an agenda for future research that will shape the practice of survey pretesting.


  • Cognitive Interviews
  • Survey Researchers
  • Mixed-mode Survey
  • Internet-based Approach
  • Verbal Probing Techniques

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Correspondence to Gordon Willis .

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Willis, G. (2018). Cognitive Interviewing in Survey Design: State of the Science and Future Directions. In: Vannette, D., Krosnick, J. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Survey Research . Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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