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Investigating Respondent Multitasking and Distraction Using Self-reports and Interviewers’ Observations in a Dual-frame Telephone Survey

Aizpurúa, E. ORCID: 0000-0001-7045-5535, Heiden, E. O., Park, K. H., Wittrock, J. and Losch, M. E. (2018). Investigating Respondent Multitasking and Distraction Using Self-reports and Interviewers’ Observations in a Dual-frame Telephone Survey. Survey Insights: Methods from the Field, doi: 10.13094/SMIF-2018-00006

Abstract

Previous research has shown that people often engage in other activities while responding to surveys and that respondents’ multitasking generally has no effect on indicators of data quality (e.g., item nonresponse, non-differentiation). One of the limitations of these studies is that they have mostly used selfreported measures of respondents’ multitasking. We build on prior research by combining self-reported measures of multitasking with interviewers' observations of respondents' distractions recorded after each interview. The dataset comes from a statewide dual-frame random digit dial telephone survey of adults in a Midwestern state (n = 1,006) who were queried on topics related to awareness of and attitudes toward STEM education. We found that multitasking was frequent (45.6%) and that respondents who reported engaging in other activities were described as distracted twice as often as those who did not report multitasking (38.3% versus 19.0%). In terms of data quality, respondents who were multitasking provided less accurate responses to a knowledge question. However, we found no evidence that distractions, assessed by interviewers, compromised data quality. The implications of the results for survey practices are discussed.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © the authors 2018. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0)
Publisher Keywords: data quality, distraction, dual-frame, interviewers’ observations, multitasking, self-reports, Telephone survey
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Sociology
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2020 09:55
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/25273
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