Brady T. West, Frederick G. Conrad, Frauke Kreuter, Felicitas Mittereder
Can Conversational Interviewing Improve Survey Response Quality without Increasing Interviewer Effects?

Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series A (Statistics in Society), 2018: 181, issue 1, pp. 181–203
ISSN: 0964–1998 (print); 1467-985X (online)

Several studies have shown that conversational interviewing (CI) reduces response bias for complex survey questions relative to standardized interviewing. However, no studies have addressed concerns about whether CI increases intra-interviewer correlations (IICs) in the responses collected, which could negatively impact the overall quality of survey estimates. The paper reports the results of an experimental investigation addressing this question in a national face-to-face survey. We find that CI improves response quality, as in previous studies, without substantially or frequently increasing IICs. Furthermore, any slight increases in the IICs do not offset the reduced bias in survey estimates engendered by CI.