Interviewers Skew Answers

Interviewers/askers skew answers because their personal characteristics (e.g., ethnicity, gender), manner of speaking, types of questions asked and not asked, and so on, affect interviewees’ responses.  Here’s Jonah Goldberg’s comment about how interviewer Brianna Keilar affected Hillary Clinton’s answers about her emails: “After ducking the press for months, Clinton sat down for an interview with CNN’s Brianna Keilar. . . . Keilar covers the Clinton campaign and has every incentive not to offend her famously vindictive sources.” So, Kevlar retained access to Hilary, Bill, and members of “Team Clinton” by asking Hilary mild, even “muddled” queries and “avoid[ed] asking meaningful follow-ups”; thus, Hilary could make a “plausible defense” for her “stealth server” and emails.  (Chicago Tribune, 7/13/15, sec. 1, p. 15)

For a complete discussion of the myriad ways askers skew answers–including probes, bribes/incentives, and props–see Part Five, “Askers”, in my book, The Problem with Survey Research, pp. 197-278.

About georgebeam

George Beam is an educator and author. The perspectives that inform his interpretations of the topics of this blog–-as well as his other writings and university courses -–are system analysis, behaviorism, and Internet effects. Specific interests include quality management, methodology, and politics. He is Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Public Administration; Affiliated Faculty, Department of Political Science; and, previously, Head, Department of Public Administration, University of Illinois at Chicago
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