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Panel Attrition: How Important is Interviewer Continuity?

Peter Lynn, Olena Kaminska () and Goldstein Harvey ()
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Goldstein Harvey: Centre for Multilevel Modelling, University of Bristol. Tyndall Avenue, Bristol, BS8 1TH, UK

Journal of Official Statistics, 2014, vol. 30, issue 3, 15

Abstract: We assess whether the probability of a sample member cooperating at a particular wave of a panel survey is greater if the same interviewer is deployed as at the previous wave. Previous research on this topic mainly uses nonexperimental data. Consequently, a) interviewer change is generally nonrandom, and b) continuing interviewers are more experienced by the time of the next wave. Our study is based on a balanced experiment in which both interviewer continuity and experience are controlled. Multilevel multiple membership models are used to explore the effects of interviewer continuity on refusal rate as well as interactions of interviewer continuity with other variables. We find that continuity reduces refusal propensity for younger respondents but not for older respondents, and that this effect depends on the age of the interviewer. This supports the notion that interviewer continuity may be beneficial in some situations, but not necessarily in others.

Date: 2014
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DOI: 10.2478/jos-2014-0028

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