Social Survey Data Collection

5. Continuous Interviewer Learning

Interviewers should never stop learning and should always be open to improving themselves.

To encourage continuous learning it is necessary to have in place a suite of training packages that interviewers and their managers can use on an ongoing basis.

Examples of these include:

  • Non-contact workshops where interviewers discuss strategies for minimizing non-contacts (and encouraging contacts at an earlier stage);
  • Deciding how and when to use interpreters;
  • Best practice when classifying response, for example when coding occupation and industry.

A recent addition to this is training on how to interview persons with impairments.  When working on any survey it is important that each eligible individual is given an equal opportunity to take part.  In addition, the survey experience should be the same for all: it should not be more difficult or less pleasant just because of the respondent’s individual circumstances.  To promote these objectives a set of guidelines has been developed instructing interviewers on what they should do when faced with a respondent who has an impairment.  While this sets out what is considered best practice when interviewing someone, for example, with a visual, hearing, physical or learning impairment, it is also stressed that no two persons will have the same needs. The same condition may have a major effect on one person but a minor effect on another. While there are occasions when a disability does severely affect the ability of a person to participate in an interview, in most cases it is no barrier to being a fully effective respondent. The key is to not make any assumptions.