Positive learning or deviant interviewing? Mechanisms of experience on interviewer behavior
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Description: Interviewer (mis)behavior has been shown to change with interviewers’ professional experience (general experience) and experience gained during the field period (survey experience). We extend this work by using both types of experience to analyze interviewer effects on a core quality indicator: interview duration. To understand whether the effect of interviewer experience on duration is driven by increased efficiency or deviant behavior – both mechanisms of shorter interview durations – we additionally examine the triggering rate of filter questions to avoid burdensome follow-up questions and response differentiation over the field period. Using multilevel models and data from a large-scale survey of refugees in Germany, we find that interview duration decreases with increasing survey experience, particularly among the generally inexperienced interviewers. However, this effect is not found for the triggering rate and response differentiation. The results are robust to different sample and model specifications. We conclude that the underlying mechanism driving interview duration is related to increasing efficiency, and not deviant behavior.
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