Institute of Sociology
of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Deviatko I. F., Lebedev D. V. Through the eyes of the interviewer, through the eyes of the respondent: outlining a new approach towards the assessment of cognitive load during the interview. Monitoring of Public Opinion: Economic and Social Changes. 2017. 5. P. 119. DOI:10.14515 ...



Deviatko I. F., Lebedev D. V. Through the eyes of the interviewer, through the eyes of the respondent: outlining a new approach towards the assessment of cognitive load during the interview. Monitoring of Public Opinion: Economic and Social Changes. 2017. 5. P. 119. DOI:10.14515/monitoring.2017.5.01.
ISSN 2219-5467
DOI 10.14515/monitoring.2017.5.01.

Posted on site: 14.11.17

URL: https://wciom.ru/fileadmin/file/monitoring/2017/141/2017_141_01_Deviatko.pdf


Abstract

The belief that survey research instruments mediating communication between an interviewer and a respondent influence the quality of data obtained in the process of survey interview, has become a conventional wisdom long ago. However, among various methods of pre-testing, evaluating survey instruments quality and revealing the potential sources of measurement bias, the methods of quantitative estimation of cognitive load experienced by interviewers or respondents during the interview are still lacking. In a case of personal interview as a means of survey data collection, physical and, to a much greater extent, mental efforts are invested by both respondents and interviewers. In the situation when a questionnaire is filled up by an interviewer it is the latter who primarily has to allocate limited individual resources of attention, memory, visual and motor control, active listening and interpretation in order to minimize misunderstandings of the question on the respondents side and errors of the answers fixation on interviewer's own side. Successfully performing such multiple tasks demands considerable metacognitive and self-regulatory skills from the interviewer. Interviewers multitasking in the process of conducting an interview, including tasks of maintaining communication with a respondent, controlling over ones own actions of filling-in the questionnaire and over the technical part of the process, fixation of possible disturbances during the interview and so on, may lead to depletion of available cognitive resources and to interviewers cognitive overload. This can result in the deterioration of data quality. However, sociologists attention to the measurement of cognitive load in the process of interview has been minimal so far. The article presents results of an analytical review of traditional and modern approaches to the measurement of the cognitive load, employed in such disciplinary fields as cognitive science, ergonomics, research on the processes of education and problem-solving, etc. The authors substantiate the possibility of employment of some subjective, objective and behavioral measures of cognitive load for the purposes of quantitative evaluation and optimization of interviewers (and, in prospect, respondents) cognitive load, which arises during the interview process. We also outline the near perspectives and expected benefits of the development of an integral methodological approach to the employment of multiple indicators of cognitive load in the surveys of various types.