Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Journal of Official Statistics, Vol. 32, No. 3, 2016, pp. 579–600.

doi 10.1515/JOS-2016-0030


Copyright (c) Statistics Sweden. Published by De Gruyter. Open Access.


Determining which verbal behaviors of interviewers and respondents are dependent on one another is a complex problem that can be facilitated via data-mining approaches. Data are derived from the interviews of 153 respondents of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) who were interviewed about their life-course histories. Behavioral sequences of interviewer-respondent interactions that were most predictive of respondents spontaneously using parallel, timing, duration, and sequential retrieval strategies in their generation of answers were examined. We also examined which behavioral sequences were predictive of retrospective reporting data quality as shown by correspondence between calendar responses with responses collected in prior waves of the PSID. The verbal behaviors of immediately preceding interviewer and respondent turns of speech were assessed in terms of their co-occurrence with each respondent retrieval strategy. Interviewers’ use of parallel probes is associated with poorer data quality, whereas interviewers’ use of timing and duration probes, especially in tandem, is associated with better data quality. Respondents’ use of timing and duration strategies is also associated with better data quality and both strategies are facilitated by interviewer timing probes. Data mining alongside regression techniques is valuable to examine which interviewer-respondent interactions will benefit data quality.