Survey Guidelines

Interviewer Qualification and Training

„Interviewers affect survey estimates in three ways: they play a major role in the response rate that is achieved, they are responsible for training and motivating respondents, and they must handle their part of the interview interaction and question-and-answer process in a standardized, nonbiasing way.” (Fowler: Survey Research Methods, 110)

Survey techniques that call for the deployment of interviewers always presuppose the recruitment and training of these employees. Irrespective of whether the potential interviewer is to conduct face-to-face or telephone interviews, he or she plays one of the two key roles in the interview situation: first, to persuade the target person to participate, and second, to collect data within the framework of the interview. Because interviewers influence the participation and response behaviour of the respondents, it must be ensured that this influence proceeds along the right track. Hence, to reduce interviewer effects to a minimum, particular attention must be paid to the selection, training, and motivation of the interviewers because the quality of the field work, and thus of the data, significantly depends on the participant actors. Hence, the optimisation of data quality begins with the selection of the interviewers, continues in interviewer training, and ends with interviewer monitoring. The contribution deals with the following questions:

  • What should be taken into account when recruiting interviewers?
  • What type of training should be conducted?
  • What quality assurance measures can be implemented?

Stiegler, A., & Biedinger, N. (2016). Interviewer Skills  and Training. GESIS Survey Guidelines. Mannheim, Germany: GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences. doi: 10.15465/gesis-sg_en_013