The role of interviewer experience on acquiescence

Kristen Olson, Ipek Bilgen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Experienced interviewers are commonly thought to achieve better quality survey data than inexperienced interviewers. Yet few empirical examinations of differences in data quality on attitudinal questions for experienced versus inexperienced interviewers exist. In this article, we examine whether experienced and inexperienced interviewers differ in their levels of a commonly evaluated data quality measure - acquiescence - in two national surveys. We hypothesize that experienced interviewers will have higher rates of acquiescence than inexperienced interviewers due to either differential pace or differential behaviors. We find that experienced interviewers obtain higher levels of acquiescent reports than do inexperienced interviewers, even after accounting for potential differences in interviewer and respondent characteristics. These differences across interviewers are not mediated by differential pace of the interview, as measured by interview length, implying that there may be differences in interview behaviors for experienced and inexperienced interviewers. We conclude with implications for survey practice and interviewer training and monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-114
Number of pages16
JournalPublic Opinion Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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