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Finished Projects

Conversational Interviewing and Interviewer Variance (CIIV)

Standardized Interviewing (SI) requires survey interviewers to read questions as worded and provide only neutral or non-directive probes in response to questions from respondents. While many major surveys in the government, non-profit, and private sectors use SI in an effort to minimize the effects of interviewers on data quality, the existing literature shows that
between-interviewer variance in key survey statistics still arises despite the assignment of random subsamples to interviewers. Because this type of between-interviewer variance affects the precision of a survey estimate just like sample size, it has direct cost implications when designing a survey. Survey methodologists suspect that despite proper training in SI, interviewers may still diverge from scripts (even though they are not trained to) because additional explanation is often requested by survey respondents.

Conversational Interviewing (CI) is known to handle clarification requests in a more effective manner: Interviewers are trained to read questions as worded, initially, and then say whatever is required to help respondents understand the questions. Despite literature demonstrating that CI produces noticeable decreases in the measurement error bias of survey estimates, survey researchers (and governmental agencies in particular) have been hesitant to employ it in practice, in part because of increased questionnaire administration time but also due to the fear of increased interviewer variance. The proposed research activity aims to compare the interviewer variance, bias, and mean squared error (MSE) arising in a variety of survey estimates from these two face-to-face interviewing techniques, and decompose the total interviewer variance introduced by each technique into measurement error variance and nonresponse error variance among interviewers. Doing so requires interpenetrated assignment of sampled cases to professional interviewers in addition to the presence of high-quality administrative records, and we performed an original data collection in Germany with these required features to meet our research aims. 

Mannheim Exit Poll

On June 14, 2015, student researchers from the University of Mannheim conducted an
 exit poll  of voters in the City of Mannheim mayoral election. A total of 1,575 voters 
in five randomly selected precincts were surveyed on a range of topics, including their 
voting behavior, social and political attitudes, and views on local services and issues. 
The data collection and analysis for this project are held in conjunction with the Department 
of Sociology Empirisches Forschungspraktikum I and II classes. 

Survey Managers

Barbara Felderer

Nikki Graf

Questionnaire Development and Interviewing Team

Clara Beitz, Christina Bott, Markus Büger, Angela Buschmann, Larissa Ernst, Julius Fastnacht, Rolf Fröschle, 

Tabea Gering, Max Hansen, Anika Herter, Büsra Karaca, Marina König, Klara Kuhn, Anna Merz, Sandra Mingham, 
Sevda Mollaoglu, Daniel Parstorfer, Marina Röhrich, Tom Sauer, Erika Schuller, Daria Schulte, Hannah Soiné, Mona Wirth

Analytics Team

Eva Bengert, Felix Bölingen, Babette Bühler, Katharina Burgdorf, Angela Buschmann, Johanna Eisinger, 
Larissa Ernst, Rolf Fröschle, Max Hansen, Dorothea Harles, Anika Herter, Ina Holdik, Samir Khalil, Lisa Kirschbaum, 
Marina König, Lisa Kühn, Luisa Maigatte, Monika Matuschinski, Sandra Mingham, Nneka Mmeh, Sevda Mollaoglu,
Lisa Natter, Julia Riffel, Sarah Schneider, Erika Schuller, Frederik Unruh, Annika Wagner, Mona Wirth, Clara Zimmer

Media CoverageFORUM, the magazine of the University of Mannheim (2/2015 issue, p.37)


Television station RNF election day news broadcast (Video - Mannheim Exit Poll at 1:05)