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Bilingual Interviewer Selection in ATUS Cognitive Interviewing: Can we trust learned bilingual interviewers to do their jobs as well as native bilingual speakers?

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Abstract:

In the instances and areas of the country where the number of native Spanish speakers is low, will non-native speakers conduct Spanish interviews as well as native bilingual speakers? After all, more Americans whose native language is not Spanish are learning to speak Spanish as a second language. We are not aware of any literature that examined and compared native vs. learned bilingual interviewers except in document translations. Two NORC bilingual interviewers, one native and the other a learned speaker of Spanish, together conducted 15 cognitive interviews to test the Spanish language version of the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Prior to that, each interviewers had already collected time use data from 14 English-speaking respondents. In the ATUS Spanish cognitive interviewing, the first ten interviews were conducted with bilingual subjects, and after making changes to the instrument based on findings from the bilingual interviews, five monolingual subjects were interviewed. Since the ATUS is a non-scripted and conversational survey and the cognitive debriefing was done in English (except for the monolinguals), an interviewer's bilingual proficiency is essential. The interviews were tape recorded; we examined both the hardcopy protocols and the tape recorded interviews. Although findings from cognitive interviewing are qualitative in nature and the sample size is small, our data is compellingly suggestive – We observed that the learned Spanish interviewer achieves the same effectiveness in cognitive interviewing as a native speaker. As a measure of effectiveness, we quantified the instances when an interviewer asks the key questions that guide data collection in the time diary, especially in the monolingual interviews; we also compared the entries in the time diary. We found that for a learned Spanish speaker, the performance is not confounded by habitual use of local idioms, and there is no difference between the quality of qualitative data collected.

Author's Keywords:

interviewer selection, cognitive interviewing
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Name: American Association for Public Opinion Research
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http://www.aapor.org


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URL: http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p116467_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Sha, Man-chi Mandy. and Haggerty, Catherine. "Bilingual Interviewer Selection in ATUS Cognitive Interviewing: Can we trust learned bilingual interviewers to do their jobs as well as native bilingual speakers?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, Sheraton Music City, Nashville, TN, Aug 16, 2003 <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p116467_index.html>

APA Citation:

Sha, M. and Haggerty, C. C. , 2003-08-16 "Bilingual Interviewer Selection in ATUS Cognitive Interviewing: Can we trust learned bilingual interviewers to do their jobs as well as native bilingual speakers?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, Sheraton Music City, Nashville, TN <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p116467_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: In the instances and areas of the country where the number of native Spanish speakers is low, will non-native speakers conduct Spanish interviews as well as native bilingual speakers? After all, more Americans whose native language is not Spanish are learning to speak Spanish as a second language. We are not aware of any literature that examined and compared native vs. learned bilingual interviewers except in document translations. Two NORC bilingual interviewers, one native and the other a learned speaker of Spanish, together conducted 15 cognitive interviews to test the Spanish language version of the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Prior to that, each interviewers had already collected time use data from 14 English-speaking respondents. In the ATUS Spanish cognitive interviewing, the first ten interviews were conducted with bilingual subjects, and after making changes to the instrument based on findings from the bilingual interviews, five monolingual subjects were interviewed. Since the ATUS is a non-scripted and conversational survey and the cognitive debriefing was done in English (except for the monolinguals), an interviewer's bilingual proficiency is essential. The interviews were tape recorded; we examined both the hardcopy protocols and the tape recorded interviews. Although findings from cognitive interviewing are qualitative in nature and the sample size is small, our data is compellingly suggestive – We observed that the learned Spanish interviewer achieves the same effectiveness in cognitive interviewing as a native speaker. As a measure of effectiveness, we quantified the instances when an interviewer asks the key questions that guide data collection in the time diary, especially in the monolingual interviews; we also compared the entries in the time diary. We found that for a learned Spanish speaker, the performance is not confounded by habitual use of local idioms, and there is no difference between the quality of qualitative data collected.

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