• Presentation

Analysis of Traveling Field Interviewer Use on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health


Woerner, T. D., Thomson, R. K., Bergeron, D. A., & Peri, R. V. (2010, May). Analysis of Traveling Field Interviewer Use on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Presented at IFD&TC 2010, .


Maintaining adequate staffing levels is crucial to the success of any field data collection study. However, for large national multi-year studies, like the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), staffing shortages on field interviewer teams are bound to happen due to attrition and planned or unplanned absences of local interviewers. When faced with these staffing issues, the NSDUH project employs a team of traveling field interviewers (TFIs) to help maintain high response rates and meet data collection deadlines.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is an annual survey sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). First conducted in 1971, this study has become the nation's leading source of information on substance use behaviors and mental health. Approximately 67,500 NSDUH interviews are completed annually and data is collected in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. The NSDUH Traveling Field Interviewer team consists of approximately 10 field interviewers. These field interviewers are selected for the TFI team based on their exemplary performance on local field interviewer teams. TFIs travel throughout the country to assist understaffed territories with data collection efforts. They are also used to assist production efforts when local teams are faced with difficult field challenges such as controlled access situations (e.g., doormen, gated communities, intercom/buzzers, etc.) or high refusal rates.

In this presentation, we will examine the effectiveness of the TFI team during two years of data collection. We will examine the costs, data quality measures, and production of the TFI team for the 2007 and 2008 survey years. Issues explored will include a discussion of the TFI team’s rates of production for different parts of the country and a review of production rates when the TFI team has been utilized to work controlled access situations and assist refusal conversion efforts.