15.11 Face-to-Face

Trained interviewers meet individually with the survey respondents and ask them the survey questions in person

  • Advantages:

    • longer and more complex questions can be accommodated

    • questions that require the respondent to react to visual images can be asked

  • Disadvantages:

    • labor costs for interviewer training is high

    • transportation costs for interviewers’ travel to and from the respondents’ locations are very high

    • respondents are less and less likely to allow strangers into their homes so the completion rate is low

Evaluating face-to-face survey data: The following questions are important guides to determining the quality of the firm doing the survey and to the reliability of the information gathered by the survey:

  • How were the interviewers selected?

  • Were the interviewers chosen to avoid the bias of race, age, sex or other social factors that might limit respondents’ comfort level in participating?

  • How was the work of each interviewer checked?

  • What instructions did the interviewers receive regarding the selection of respondents?