Interviewer Remarks, Characteristics & Contacts

National Longitudinal Survey of Youth - 1997 Cohort

Interviewer Remarks, Characteristics & Contacts

After the interviewer has finished surveying the respondent, the interviewer fills out an interviewer remarks section, providing objective and subjective details about the interview. Interviewers also provide demographic characteristics about themselves. In addition, information on the interviewer's contacts with the respondent (number of attempts at interviewing the respondent, for instance) is available.

Interviewer Remarks

Each NLSY97 questionnaire includes a section that interviewers complete after finishing the interview with the respondent. Some of the information is objective (the presence of another person during the survey, for instance) while other information is subjective on the part of the interviewer (such as rating how cooperative the respondent was). Interviewers do not receive specific training on completing subjective items, so ratings are not likely to be comparable across interviewers. These variables are found in the "Interviewer Remarks" Area of Interest and have the prefix "YIR" in their question name. 

Special circumstances. All survey rounds feature a series of questions about special circumstances that might have affected the quality of the data. The interviewers were asked to assess whether the respondent was hard of hearing, unable to see well, unable to read, lacking in basic social skills, mentally handicapped or retarded, physically handicapped, ill/injured, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, had a poor command of English, or experienced environmental distractions during the interview. Starting in round 6, interviewers also were asked to assess whether the respondent had reading abilities good enough to complete the self-administered sections of the interview without an audio component.

Respondent's general demeanor. In all survey rounds, interviewers rated how informative/cooperative and how candid/honest a respondent appeared during the interview. In addition, the interviews assessed the respondent's overall understanding (good, fair, poor) of the questions.

Other respondent characteristics. Starting in round 2, interviewers recorded race and gender for each respondent based on the interviewers' observations. Beginning in round 6, the race question conformed to new OMB guidelines on collecting racial identification of individuals. The same guidelines are followed in all race questions in the NLSY97 interview since round 6. Starting in round 12, the race and ethnicity questions were not asked; instead, the interviewers recorded the color of the respondent's skin using a color card with skin color gradients from 1-10 (1 being lightest and 10 being darkest) to determine a color that most closely corresponded to the respondent's facial coloring. The skin color variable was also included in rounds 13 and 14 for respondents who were not round 12 participants.

Presence of others during interview. All survey rounds include information about whether others were present (listening and/or participating) during the interview and who the person or persons were (infant child, family member, etc.). Interviewers attempt to secure a private environment for all interviews, so the presence of another individual (other than a small child) is an exception and can be considered a disruption to the interview. 

Home and neighborhood characteristics. In each survey round, the interviewer recorded where the interview took place: inside the respondent's home, immediately outside the respondent's home, in the interviewer's vehicle, or in a separate location. In survey rounds 1-5, where possible, interviewers assessed the exterior and interior condition of the respondent's home and the general state of other buildings in the neighborhood. Interviewers for rounds 1-5 also provided a description of the neighborhood (rural, urban, etc.), the most common type of residence (single home or apartment buildings, for example) found on the respondent's street, and whether the interviewer was concerned for his or her safety while at the interview.

Interview mode. Starting in round 2, interviewers recorded whether any portion of the interview took place on the phone. In all rounds, interviewers indicated if the interview was conducted in Spanish or English.

Interviewer Characteristics

Starting in round 6, NLSY97 interviewers provided demographic information about themselves. These variables begin with the prefix "INTERVIEWER_" in their question names. The following data about interviewers are available for rounds 6 and up (unless otherwise indicated):

  • INTERVIEWER_PUBID. Each interviewer receives a public ID number that remains the same for that interviewer across rounds.
  • INTERVIEWER_STATUS. Interviewer was on staff during a particular round (yes/no).
  • INTERVIEWER_POSITION. Position held by interviewer (either field interviewer or field manager).
  • INTERVIEWER_DEMOGRAPHIC. Did the interviewer provide demographic data during this round? (yes/no).
  • INTERVIEWER_YOB. Interviewer's year of birth.
  • INTERVIEWER_ETHNICITY. Interviewer indicates whether he/she is of Hispanic origin (yes/no).
  • INTERVIEWER_RACE. Race of interviewer.
  • INTERVIEWER_GENDER. Gender of interviewer.
  • INTERVIEWER_HGC. Interviewer's highest grade completed.
  • INTERVIEWER_OCCUPATION. Current or previous occupation of interviewer.
  • INTERVIEWER_EXPERIENCE. Number of years worked as an interviewer for any survey organization.
  • INTERVIEWER_START~M (~Y) and INTERVIEWER_END~M (~Y). The month and day the interviewer started and stopped working on a particular survey round. Available starting in round 8.
  • Rx_INTERVIEWER_FIRST_DAY and Rx_INTERVIEWER_LAST_DAY. The sequential day of the field period when the interviewer first worked in a particular round. Available starting in round 14 (Prefix changes according to round number).
  • INTERVIEWER_HPC_8WKS. The interviewer's average hours worked per completed interview as a proportion of the overall hours worked per case for the project at the end of the first 8 weeks of the field period. Available starting in round 9.
  • INTERVIEWER_SPANISH. The interviewer is classified as Spanish speaking (yes/no). Available starting in round 8.
  • INTERVIEWER_SPECIAL_TEAM. Interviewer indicates whether he/she was on a special team (yes/no). Special teams are groups of experienced interviewers who worked almost exclusively on difficult cases from the start of the field period. Available only as a round 10 variable.
  • Rx_FI_ATTITUDE1, Rx_FI_ATTITUDE2, Rx_FI_ATTITUDE3. Starting in round 13, interviewers were asked their opinions about the importance of the NLSY (Prefix changes according to round number).

Interview Contacts

From round 2 on, each interviewer recorded (in the Interviewer Remarks section) the number of calls and/or visits needed to complete the interview (see YIR_1765 and YIR_1770). Interviewers also provided information on whether they themselves had been the ones who had interviewed the respondent in the previous interview (YIR-1780).

Starting in round 7 through the current round, the following variables were made available about the history of contacting the respondent for each survey round. The variable names begin with the number of the survey round (for instance, R13_ATTEMPTS). These variables are available regardless of whether the respondent was successfully interviewed for that survey year:

  • Rx_ATTEMPTS. The number of times a project staff member attempted to reach the respondent. This number includes attempts to reach respondent contacts and other individuals who might be helpful in completing the interview, not just attempts to reach the respondent himself/herself.
  • Rx_REFUSED. A yes/no variable that indicates whether the respondent refused to participate at least once.
  • Rx_FIRST_ATTEMPT. The day of fielding period of first contact attempt for that survey year. This variable indicates the sequential day of the field period when the first attempt was made to contact the respondent.
  • Rx_LAST_ATTEMPT. The day of fielding period of last contact attempt for survey year. This variable indicates the sequential day of the field period when the final attempt was made to contact the respondent.
  • Rx_PEOPLE_WORKING. The number of field staff attempting contacts with respondent (total number of interviewers that worked on the case).
  • R10_CONTACTS. Whether the respondent himself/herself ever initiated contact by email, by calling the 800 number, or by returning the advance letter. Asked in round 10 only.