Interviewer and respondent behaviours when measuring change with dependent interviewing

Publication type

Conference Paper


Annette Jäckle and Tarek Al Baghal

Publication date


Most panel surveys use dependent interviewing as a method of reducing
spurious changes between interviews in responses to key factual
questions. With proactive dependent interviewing respondents are
reminded of their response in the previous interview before being asked
about their current situation. There are however different ways in which
this question can be worded. For example in Understanding Society some
dependent interviewing questions ask respondents ‘Is this still the
case?’, while other questions ask ‘Has this changed?’ In this study we
report on experiments carried in the Understanding Society Innovation
Panel that were designed to test how best to word proactive dependent
interviewing questions. Interviews were audio-recorded so that
interviewer and respondent behaviours could be coded. Initial results of
the behaviour coded data from Wave 3 suggests that the ‘remind,
changed?’ question format was problematic. With the ‘remind, still?’
format most interactions were straightforward: the interviewer asked the
question as scripted and the respondent gave a codeable answer. With
the ‘remind, changed?’ format it was more likely that interviewers or
respondents deviated from behaviours required for standardised
interviewing and that the exchange took longer. In Wave 7 the experiment
included two further question versions, asking ‘is that still the same
or has it changed?’ or ‘has that changed or is it still the same?’
Further analyses will include examining in detail the types of
interviewer behaviours and how those related to the reporting of change.