Dr. Henning Silber

Survey Design and Methodology
Survey Operations

+49 (621) 1246-136

More than half of all surveys in Germany are administered by interviewers (ADM, 2016 Annual Report). Interviewers are a potential source of error; for example, they can unintentionally influence the answering behavior of respondents. This potential source of error should be kept to a minimum. By implementing a high-quality and standardized interviewer training program, it can be ensured that interviews are performed in a standardized manner, thus reducing the distortion of responses by interviewers. To date, project-specific interviewer training programs have been implemented for vast survey projects, such as the European Social Survey (ESS), producing outstanding scientific work. However, in Germany, there is currently no general recommendation for basic interviewer training, independent of individual projects. For this reason, GESIS has collaborated closely with major survey projects in the social sciences and institutes with experience in survey-based social research to develop hands-on recommendations for implementing interviewer training. The recommendations focus on general interviewer training which – like project-specific interviewer training –  has the aim of reducing interviewer effects and, in turn, eliminating various sources of error in surveys, such as unit and item non-response.