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Technology options for engaging respondents in self-administered questionnaires and remote interviewing

Citation

Cook, S., Sha, M., Murphy, J., & Lau, C. (2016). Technology options for engaging respondents in self-administered questionnaires and remote interviewing. (RTI Press Publication No. OP-0026-1603). Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press. DOI: 10.3768/rtipress.2016.op.0026.1603

Abstract

Moving away from in-person interviewing and toward self-administered questionnaires (SAQs) reduces costs but also raises questions about data quality. Without an interviewer present, respondents may lose their engagement with the survey, leading to breakoffs and greater measurement error. One way to potentially reduce these errors is to leverage new technologies to enhance respondent engagement. Another is to use remote interviewers, which is more budget-friendly than in-person interviewers. In this paper, we describe new technology options to keep respondents engaged with SAQs and harness remote interviewing capabilities: mobile data collection, short message service and instant messaging, video interviewing, and virtual worlds. Drawing from literature and professional experience, we discuss the functioning and implications of these recent technologies for respondent engagement and additional indicators, such as respondent burden, accuracy, and retention. This paper serves as a starting point for researchers considering technological options for conducting SAQs or remote interviews to reduce costs while continuing to engage respondents without sacrificing quality.

Author Details

Sarah Cook

Sarah L. Cook, MA, is a survey methodologist in RTI International’s Center for Survey Methodology in the Survey Research Division. Her research interests are in qualitative data collection, pretesting, and the integration of new technologies in the field of survey research.

Manchi Sha

Mandy Sha, MA, is a survey methodologist in RTI’s Center for Survey Methodology. She specializes in instrument design and evaluation and is a certified Project Management Professional.

Joseph Murphy

Joseph J. Murphy, MA, is a senior survey methodologist in RTI’s Center for Survey Methodology. His research focuses on the development and application of new technologies and modes of communication to improve the survey research process.

Charles Lau

Charles Q. Lau, PhD, is a survey methodologist in RTI International’s Program for Research in Survey Methodology in the Survey Research Division. In this position, he focuses on questionnaire design and survey operations in less developed countries.