The case of a centralized interviewer organisation

Date of publication: June 15, 1962


The structure of the interviewer organisation should follow; from the functions this organisation has to perform. These functions are of a very special kind, not comparable with other, occupational functions. They are also quite different from those of the researcher and analyst. The interviewer as an individual has to be a conscientious mechanic who carefully follows instructions. The less left to his initiative, the better. For, as a whole, the interviewer organisation must function with the smallest possible variance, that is to say, interviewers should ideally be interchangeable. In order to achieve these aims, a strongly centralised interviewer organisation must be set up. A uniform procedure for the selection of interviewers must be developed which operates on the principle of statistical probability in selecting promising interviewer material. Once selected, the interviewers must be controlled closely and continuously and all possible sources of deviation from the norm must be weeded out as soon as they are detected. For selection as well as for control, test systems must be developed. A number of psychological tests now in use for various purposes can be adapted for interviewer selection, while others have to be now set up. Control tests can often be built into the surveys, for example by split-ballot techniques. Also, selection and control tests can be combined with a training program.

Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann


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