Office of Survey Methods Research


D. Cantor and J.L. Esposito (1992) "Evaluating Interviewer Style for Collecting Industry and Occupation Information," Proceedings of the Section on Survey Methods, American Statistical Association, 661-666.

As part of the monthly collection of job-related data on the Current Population Survey (CPS), interviewers ask four open-ended questions pertaining to the respondent's industry and occupation (I/O) status, and record responses to these questions as closely to verbatim as possible. Recorded information is subsequently coded into three-digit I/O categories at the Census Bureau's coding facility in Jeffersonville, IN. The purpose of this paper is to report on research examining the effects of the interviewer's data-collection style (e.g., probing strategies, recording efficiency) on the quality of the information collected and the accuracy of the I/O codes subsequently generated. The study involved asking Census Bureau coders to listen to a set of audiotaped CPS CATI interviews and to: (a) record relevant information necessary for coding the case, (b) classify the descriptions into appropriate I/O categories, and (c) comment on the interviewers' probing style. Analyses of these data were useful in identifying the types of problems interviewers have when administering the I/O questions and led to a set of recommendations for improving the quality of information collected in the I/O series of the CPS.

To receive a copy of this paper (usually within 3-5 days), please contact Jim Esposito by phone or voice mail (202-691-6368), by e-mail (, or by mailing your request to:

James L. Esposito
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Postal Square Building, Room 4985
2 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E.
Washington, DC, 20212

Last Modified Date: July 19, 2008

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