Training of Interviewers

Interviewers are selected after a screening process that tests their conversational, data entry, and computer literacy skills. Only applicants with the highest rankings are selected for employment. Successful applicants are then led through two four-hour classroom style seminars that cover the history of the UWSC and importance of survey research, the fundamentals of data collection including specific CASES software training, refusal aversion, occupation coding, and are briefed in a current UWSC project. The new employees then sit with an experienced telephone interviewer for three four-hour shifts to discuss in detail our data collection protocols, to role play, and to monitor live cases. At the end of this training, the new employee sits through a mock interview with a supervisor, who presents them with a "worst case scenario" interview and evaluates them on twelve criteria. Only after passing the mock interview and receiving a minimum of twenty hours of training are our interviewers allowed to call actual respondents. In addition, before calling on a UWSC project, interviewers are required to attend a project briefing. Project-specific briefing are designed in consultation with the researcher and can last anywhere from two to twelve hours.

All interviewers participate in ongoing training, which includes periodic retraining on basic interviewing methods, seminars on refusal conversion which include audio files of actual refusals, and one-on-one role play for specific projects. The interviewers who conduct the individual one-on-one instruction are required to attend a "Training the Trainer" session, which is part classroom-style lecture and part hands-on training about how to approach difficult cases.

Our telephone facility includes a training room that comfortably seats up to 30 interviewers. Because we have our own facility, trainings and briefings are easy to schedule, can use our CATI facility when necessary, and cost less because staff and equipment are on-site.

Monitoring of CATI Interviewers

Quality control of our CATI interviewers is implemented through on-going monitoring. Each interviewer is monitored for an entire interview and followed up with a monitoring evaluation at a minimum of every four weeks. In our daily "spot monitoring" protocol, the supervisor listens to a portion of an interview and provides feedback to the interviewer. This supplies a constant flow of feedback from supervisor to interviewer. The monitoring evaluation critiques the interviewer on data collection protocols such as verbatim reading and recording, probing methods, objectivity, pace, rapport, and appropriate refusal aversion technique. Interviewers' response rates are reviewed regularly, and discussion of those rates with the supervisor may lead to the interviewer being paired up with a more experienced interviewer or supervisor to focus on methods that will improve their performance in a given project.