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Training of interviewers. Jan Smit Consultant Statistics Division, ESCAP With thanks to Wei Liu. Outline. Overview of ESCAP/WHO project Training of interviewers. ESCAP/WHO project. ESCAP/WHO Project on Improving Disability Data 2004-2006

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Training of interviewers

Jan Smit


Statistics Division, ESCAP

With thanks to Wei Liu

Training of interviewers

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  • Overview of ESCAP/WHO project

  • Training of interviewers

Training of interviewers

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ESCAP/WHO project

  • ESCAP/WHO Project on Improving Disability Data

  • 2004-2006

  • Goal: improve national disability statistics by applying the ICF framework and using international measurement standards

Training of interviewers

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ESCAP/WHO project (cont.)

  • Target group: statisticians and experts in disability from 20 countries

  • Expected outcome: capacity to produce better disability data that meet policy needs

  • Partners: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Washington Group

Training of interviewers

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Project countries

  • Afghanistan

  • Brunei Darussalam

  • Cambodia

  • China

  • DPR Korea

  • Islamic Republic of Iran

  • Japan

  • Hong Kong, China

  • Laos

  • Macao, China

  • Republic of Korea

  • Singapore

  • Sri Lanka

  • Thailand

  • Vietnam

    Taking part in pilot test

  • Fiji

  • Indonesia

  • India

  • Mongolia

  • Philippines

Training of interviewers

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Motivation for project

  • Biwako Millennium Framework for Action (BMF) Principle 6 to “Strengthen national capacity in data collection and analysis concerning disability statistics”

  • However, many data issues within ESCAP region

Training of interviewers

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Regional disability data issues

  • Data not available to inform policy

  • Disability prevalence is underestimated

  • Traditional view of disability prevails at every layer of societies, incl. government

  • No comparability of data; need for use of international standards and guidelines

Training of interviewers

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Lack of data comparability

Training of interviewers

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Project components

  • Phase 1:

    • Training in the use of ICF for disability collection, in standard methodologies and in design of collection tools

    • National action plans for improving disability information systems

    • Preparation of disability statistics training manual & material

Training of interviewers

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Project components (cont.)

  • Phase 2:

    • Field testing of standard sets of disability questions through identical protocols

    • Evaluation of results for application to real data collections

    • Building a network of experts

Training of interviewers

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Main project activities

  • 4 regional workshops for advocating and training on the ICF approach and its implementation

  • Pilot testing of disability questionnaires for use in census and surveys and results analysis and dissemination

  • The ESCAP/WHO Disability Statistics Training Manual

Training of interviewers

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Interviewer training

  • Methods and length

  • Interviewer selection

  • Interviewer training elements

  • Interviewing techniques

Training of interviewers

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Methods interviewer training

  • Role play interviews

  • Interview with a real-life respondent

  • Review video-taped test interviews, if possible

  • Review of training material & and survey instruments

  • Length of training: 2-3 days

Training of interviewers

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Selection of interviewers

  • Interviewing skills & experience more important than formal qualifications

    • Disability questions should be clearly and simply worded

    • Therefore, no need for interviewers with medical background

Training of interviewers

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Interviewer training elements

  • Interviewer instructions

    • Data collection objectives, incl. data use

    • Explanation of each question, incl. definitions & response categories

  • Interviewer training course

    • Ideally face-to-face

    • If to costly, home study of interviewer manual + exercises

  • Address stereotypes & myths

Training of interviewers

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Stereotypes & myths

  • People with disabilities are often viewed as:

    • Incapable of participating in normal social life

    • Lacking skills or talents

    • Needing charity

    • Putting a strain on social resources

Training of interviewers

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Training therefore should…

  • Review whether interviewers (perhaps unconsciously) share these views

  • Be dealt with if they exist

    • To eliminate interviewer bias

  • Best discussed in the open during training sessions

Training of interviewers

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Interviewing techniques

  • Interviewing for disability surveys (or asking disability census question) much the same as with other surveys

  • Interviewer:

    • Introduces him/herself to respondents

    • Is prepared to answer questions from respondents

    • Follows a few simple rules for interviewing

Training of interviewers

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Introduction/gain rapport

  • Interviewer introduces him/herself by name

  • Explains topic of survey (or census)

  • Explains for what reason survey is being conducted

  • Says how long (how many minutes) interview is going to last

Training of interviewers

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Questions respondents may ask

  • As with any survey:

    • Where did you get my name?

    • Why did you choose me for this interview?

    • What kind of questions are you going to ask?

    • How long is interview going to last? (If not already mentioned)

    • What are you going to do with the data?

Training of interviewers

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Questions respondents may ask

  • Disability survey specific:

    • I’m old, not disabled; why do you include me in your survey?

    • Why does the government spend money on a survey instead of on providing better services?

    • What services (for people with my disability) are offered?

Training of interviewers

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Simple rules for interviewing

  • Ask questions exactly as worded on questionnaire

    • Even slight word changes can change the response obtained

  • Ask questions in the order they appear on the questionnaire

  • Ask every question in questionnaire

    • Even if already answered while answering another question

Training of interviewers

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Simple rules… (cont.)

  • Wait for respondent to finish talking before starting to write

    • Respondent might get upset otherwise

    • Interviewer may make mistakes

  • Don’t interrupt respondent, even if he hesitates or is quiet for a while

  • Don’t anticipate or assume answers

Training of interviewers

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Simple rules… (cont.)

  • If answer appears dubious and interviewer thinks the respondent doesn’t fully understand the question, repeat the question as written

  • Questions should be asked in a neutral tone; don’t say:

    • “You might not want to answer this question, but…”

    • “This question probably won’t make much sense to you…”

Training of interviewers

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Simple rules… (cont.)

  • Stay professional and upbeat throughout the interview

    • Even if respondent is difficult or uncooperative

    • Don’t get upset, stay courteous

  • Thank respondent at the end of each interview for his time and co-operation

Training of interviewers

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Disability specific interviewing

  • Some households might want to hide names or existence of children (or others) with disabilities

    • All household members should be listed, of course

  • Some people with disabilities might tire easily

    • 1 or more repeat visits might be necessary

Training of interviewers

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Tips and tricks

  • Treat people with disabilities like anyone else

    • Disability doesn’t change everything about a person!

    • Don’t hesitate to use:

      • Look and see with people who are blind or visually impaired

      • Listen and hear with people who are deaf or hard of hearing

      • Walk or run with people with mobility impairments

Training of interviewers

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Tips and tricks (cont.)

  • Be respectful of people with disabilities

    • Avoid stereotyping

    • Don’t patronize; don’t tell people with disabilities that you admire them

    • Don’t imply people with disabilities are child-like or of limited intelligence

    • Speak to respondent, not to sign language interpreter (if present)

Training of interviewers

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Tips and tricks (cont.)

  • Be aware of, and accommodate, communication difficulties

    • Persons who are deaf may be able to lip read and converse orally

    • Persons with a speech impairment may be unclear at first; ask to repeat themselves (they are probably used to it)

Training of interviewers

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Tips and tricks (cont.)

  • Accommodate the deaf and hearing-impaired respondent

    • Some visual sign may be needed to draw attention of respondent

    • Only speak more loudly or slowly when requested by respondent (he/she may be able to lip-read)

    • Body language and facial expressions are important

Training of interviewers

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Tips and tricks (cont.)

  • Accommodate the blind and visually-impaired respondent

    • Address respondent by name to make clear he/she is being addressed

    • If Braille material is used, be aware that not all blind respondents can read Braille

Training of interviewers

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Tips and tricks (cont.)

  • Accommodate respondents with intellectual impairments

    • Respondents may need more time to understand questions; don’t rush and repeat if necessary

    • Don’t treat respondents like children

    • Be aware that some respondents may be anxious to please (by giving ‘right’ answers)

Training of interviewers

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Interviewing in institutions

  • Presents additional problems that needed to be planned for in advance

    • Schedule appointments (with institution’s staff members) in advance

    • Be prepared for the unpredictable

Training of interviewers