Are there differences in responses to social identity questions in face-to-face versus telephone interviews? Results of an experiment on a longitudinal survey

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

International Journal of Social Research Methodology


Alita Nandi and Lucinda Platt

Publication date


This paper investigates the effect of interview mode (telephone vs. face-to-face) on responses to a 13-item module of identity questions covering distinct domains. With increasing moves towards mixed-mode implementation, especially in longitudinal surveys, establishing whether mode effects are likely to influence findings is of practical value. A growing number of studies explore mode effects; but the potential impact of mode on identity questions has not been investigated, even though such questions are increasingly being asked in multi-topic surveys. Adjusting for selection, we find little evidence for specific mode effects. The exception is responses on political identity: telephone responders are eight percentage points more likely to consider politics important to their identity. We do not find differences in data quality as measured by item non-response, straightlining, primacy and recency effects across modes. We conclude that mode effects are small for identity questions.

Volume and page numbers

20, 151-166





Psychology and Survey Methodology



Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Related Publications

  1. Effect of interview modes on measurement of identity