Can Interviewer Evaluations Predict Short-Term and Long-Term Participation in Telephone Panels?

Oliver Lipps 1  and Marieke Voorpostel 1
  • 1 FORS c/o University of Lausanne, , Lausanne, Switzerland


Interviewers often assess after the interview the respondent’s ability and reluctance to participate. Prior research has shown that this evaluation is associated with next-wave response behavior in face-to-face surveys. Our study adds to this research by looking at this association in telephone surveys, where an interviewer typically has less information on which to base an assessment. We looked at next-wave participation, non-contact and refusal, as well as longer-term participation patterns. We found that interviewers were better able to anticipate refusal than non-contact relative to participation, especially in the next wave, but also in the longer term. Our findings confirm that interviewer evaluations – in particular of the respondent’s reluctance to participate – can help predict response at later waves, also after controlling for commonly used predictors of survey nonresponse. In addition to helping to predict nonresponse in the short term, interviewer evaluations provide useful information for a long-term perspective as well, which may be used to improve nonresponse adjustment and in responsive designs in longitudinal surveys.

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