Effective Strategies for Recording Interviewer Observations: Evidence from the PASS Study in Germany

Brady T. West, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA
Mark Trappmann, Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg & University of Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany


This article investigates how different strategies used by interviewers when recording interviewer observations relate to observation accuracy. Before conducting interviews in a refreshment sample of the general population for the German PASS panel study, interviewers were asked to observe one key target variable of the study — whether a household is at risk of poverty or not — for all sampled households. In addition, interviewers recorded what strategies they had used to make their observations. For responding households, we assessed the accuracy of the observation by comparing it to an actual survey measure of poverty risk. Separate multilevel regression models …


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Analysing Poor Reading Skills: A Comparison Between PIAAC Literacy Levels and Reading components

Anja Perry, GESIS - Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences, Cologne, Germany
Britta Gauly, GESIS - Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences, Mannheim, Germany


The aim of this paper is to compare two measures of literacy skills used in the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), i.e. literacy levels and reading components. Different from assessing literacy levels, which cover the entire range of reading skills from very high to very low, the reading components assessment is specifically designed to test the reading skills of the low literate. As literacy skills are an important determinant for labour market success, we examine whether the reading components assessment is a better predictor of employment of the test takers than the general literacy level assessment …


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Comparison response patterns on landline and cell phone in a call back survey: effects of demographic characteristics and lag days

Xiaoting Qin, Cathy M. Bailey & Hatice S. Zahran
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH), Asthma and Community Health Branch, Buford, Atlanta, USA


The Asthma Call-back Survey (ACBS) is conducted after the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey by calling BRFSS respondents who reported ever being diagnosed with asthma. To find response patterns and increase ACBS response rates, we first examined whether obtaining consents during the BRFSS survey could increase call back response rates by reducing the refusal and break-off. Then, we assessed how the lag days between BRFSS and ACBS interviews affected response rates. BRFSS cell phone respondents agreed more often to being called back than did landline respondents (75.5 vs. 70.9 percent). However, when respondents were contacted for ACBS, the …


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Undercoverage of the elderly institutionalized population: The risk of biased estimates and the potentials of weighting Special issue

Jan-Lucas Schanze, GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany
Stefan Zins, GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany


In most social surveys, the elderly institutionalized population is not part of the target population because it is considered as hard-to-reach and hard-to-interview. The deliberate exclusion of institutionalized elderly from survey samples might cause bias, like previous studies investigating institutionalized elderly persons and their transition to institutions implied. We use a Monte Carlo simulation based on cross-national samples of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) to test whether the noncoverage and undercoverage of the elderly institutionalized population lead to biased estimates. Moreover, we examined to what extent weights could be used to correct for the underrepresentation …


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How to reach ‘hard-to-reach’ older people for research: The TIBaR model of recruitment Special issue

Kerstin Kammerer, Institute for Gerontological Research, Torstraße 178, D-10115 Berlin, Germany
Katrin Falk, Institute for Gerontological Research, Torstraße 178, D-10115 Berlin, Germany
Anna Herzog, Institute for Gerontological Research, Torstraße 178, D-10115 Berlin, Germany
Judith Fuchs, Robert Koch Institute, Department of Epidemiology and Health Monitoring, General-Pape-Str. 62-66, D-12101 Berlin, Germany


Recruiting older persons with diverse health statuses as participants in research projects is a challenge for health researchers, particularly because persons with health impairments and in socially disadvantaged living conditions are difficult to reach. This article presents a step model for gaining access to older people who are difficult to contact. The step model is based on the literature and a qualitative analysis of documentation, field notes and memos that stem from the recruitment processes of two studies from the German research consortium ‘Autonomy despite multimorbidity in old age’, both of which also included older persons who would qualify as …


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