Article

The Carryover Effects of Preceding Interviewer–Respondent Interaction on Responses in Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interviewing (ACASI)

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Abstract

Audio computer-assisted self-interviewing (ACASI) has been widely used to collect sensitive information from respondents in face-to-face interviews. Interviewers ask questions that are not sensitive or only moderately sensitive and then allow respondents to self-administer more sensitive questions, listening to audio recordings of the questions and typically entering their responses directly into the same device that the interviewer has used. According to the conventional thinking, ACASI is taken as independent of the face-to-face interaction that almost always precedes it. Presumably as a result of this presumed independence, the respondents’ prior interaction with the interviewer is rarely considered when assessing the quality of ACASI responses. There is no body of existing research that has experimentally investigated how the preceding interviewer–respondent interaction may create sufficient social presence to affect responses in the subsequent ACASI module. The study reported here, a laboratory experiment with eight professional interviewers and 125 respondents, explores the carryover effects of preceding interactions between interviewer and respondent on responses in the subsequent ACASI. We evaluated the impact of the similarity of the live and recorded interviewer’s voice for each respondent as well as respondents’ rapport with interviewers in the preceding interview. We did not find significant main effects of vocal similarity on disclosure in ACASI. However, we found significant interaction effects between vocal similarity and respondents’ rapport ratings in the preceding interview on disclosure in ACASI. When the ACASI voice was similar to the interviewer’s voice in the preceding interaction, respondent-rated rapport led to more disclosure but, when the ACASI voice is clearly different from the interviewer’s voice, respondent-rated rapport in the prior interaction did not affect disclosure.

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