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Engineering LibreTexts

8.3: Telephone

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  • Trained interviewers call potential respondents on the telephone, often through random / automated dialing, and ask them a set of survey questions.

    • Advantages:


      • lower cost than face-to-face


      • agent-18741_1280-300x225.jpg

        PublicDomainImages – CC0

        non-response rate is relatively low because interviewers can keep calling back until the respondent is home

      • interviewers can collect a large amount of data in a short time.


    • Disadvantages:


      • some portions of the population do not have access to a telephone


      • increasing numbers use a mobile phone exclusively and FCC rules say that automated dialing to mobile phones is illegal


      • many respondents are suspicious of telephone interviews, consider them a sales pitch


      • long or complicated questions are inappropriate over the phone


      • increasing numbers of people have put themselves on federal “do not call” lists that prohibit researchers from calling


    Evaluating telephone interview survey data:

    • Were the questionnaire and individual questions appropriately brief?


    • Were the telephone banks staffed in a central location? (Telephone interviewers who work from home are subject to less supervision, obviously)


    • What instructions were the interviewers given about who in the household they should interview?


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