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Survey Interviewing: Departures from the Script

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Abstract

Most standardized survey interviews are designed for an interviewer to deliver a specific script and follow a set of predefined paths through the survey interview. Most standardized interviewing practices dictate that each interviewer read the questions exactly as they are worded and avoid any deviation from the questions, at least when they are read the first time. However, as this chapter discusses, interviewers sometimes deviate from the standardized script – for example, by modifying the wording of the question or, occasionally, by providing a definition to respondents. Research suggests that when interviewers are well trained and monitored — for example in centralized phone rooms — most deviations from standardized practice are minor and are occasioned by the wording or structure of the question or by a lack of fit between the assumptions of the question and the respondent’s situation. This chapter reviews several different types of these deviations and discusses the positive and negative effects that they can have on survey data quality.

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Correspondence to Nora Cate Schaeffer .

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Schaeffer, N.C. (2018). Survey Interviewing: Departures from the Script. In: Vannette, D., Krosnick, J. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Survey Research . Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-54395-6_15

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