Sociology, Department of


An Analysis of Interviewer Travel and Field Outcomes in Two Field Surveys

James Wagner, University of Michigan
Kristen M. Olson, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Document Type Article

Copyright Statistics Sweden


In this article, we investigate the relationship between interviewer travel behavior and field outcomes, such as contact rates, response rates, and contact attempts in two studies, the National Survey of Family Growth and the Health and Retirement Study. Using call record paradata that have been aggregated to interviewer-day levels, we examine two important cost drivers as measures of interviewer travel behavior: the distance that interviewers travel to segments and the number of segments visited on an interviewer-day. We explore several predictors of these measures of travel – the geographic size of the sampled areas, measures of urbanicity, and other sample and interviewer characteristics. We also explore the relationship between travel and field outcomes, such as the number of contact attempts made and response rates.Wefind that the number of segments that are visited on each interviewer-day has a strong association with field outcomes, but the number of miles travelled does not. These findings suggest that survey organizations should routinely monitor the number of segments that interviewers visit, and that more direct measurement of interviewer travel behavior is needed.