Social Survey Data Collection

4. Interviewer Training

Exercise 2

The following are examples of statements given by members of the public when they have been approached by an interviewer to participate in a survey. Read the interviewer’s response to each statement and determine if it is appropriate or inappropriate to encourage participation.

Statement: I‘m not interested and I don’t want to waste your time.
Response: That’s very kind of you to worry about wasting my time. I can assure you that, in providing some basic information about your circumstances, you will be helping your local community plan for the future.

Statement: I don’t want to do it, I am not going to do it and when I say no I mean no!
Response: It is a really important survey and your type of areas tend to get missed out of surveys and that is why it is really important that I get to speak to you.

Statement: I never do interviews or surveys ever.
Response: You know, a lot of people are participating in this study. We just spoke with your neighbour about it.
[Inappropriate] An appropriate response would be: Why not? Most people enjoy having their say.

Statement: Anything to do with the Government is useless. They tell lies. The local council, they’re no better. I told you the other day, I don’t want to do it.
Response: This research will continue even if this government is thrown out tomorrow. We don’t do it for the government, we do it for the population at large. Without statistics we would be unaware of the social, medical and educational needs of the population.

Statement: Whatever I say won’t make a difference.
Response: Not participating could really affect your health care.
[Inappropriate] An appropriate response would be: Once voice alone does make a difference when joined with others.

Statement: I’m very seldom here – I’ve got three jobs and have quite a bit of commuting to do. I can’t see when I could do it!
Response: You are the sort of busy person we need to talk to. You represent the kind of change we are seeing in society today. It is important for us not to miss out people like you.

Statement: Do I have to do it?
Response: No, but it’s a little selfish of you not to participate. We’re trying to make a difference with this survey.
[Inappropriate] An appropriate response would be: No, but it is really important and we need to include a cross-section of the population.

Statement: I’m worried about what you will do with my details
Response: Your confidentiality is a worry these days. However, this is an anonymous survey. Nothing you say can be associated with the reports we produce.

Statement: There are too many surveys in the world. We are fed up with people calling here and asking questions.
Response: You can say no, but we’ll just keep calling you to see if we can change your mind.
[Inappropriate] An appropriate response would be: This is not market research. The work we do is used to make plans for things like health and housing so it concerns us all.