Greeting and Response: Predicting Participation from the Call Opening

Nora Cate Schaeffer, Bo Hee Min, Thomas Purnell, Dana Garbarski, Jennifer Dykema

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Although researchers have used phone surveys for decades, the lack of an accurate picture of the call opening reduces our ability to train interviewers to succeed. Sample members decide about participation quickly. We predict participation using the earliest moments of the call; to do this, we analyze matched pairs of acceptances and declinations from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study using a case-control design and conditional logistic regression. We focus on components of the first speaking turns: acoustic-prosodic components and interviewer’s actions. The sample member’s “hello” is external to the causal processes within the call and may carry information about the propensity to respond. As predicted by Pillet-Shore (2012), we find that when the pitch span of the sample member’s “hello” is greater the odds of participation are higher, but in contradiction to her prediction, the (less reliably measured) pitch pattern of the greeting does not predict participation. The structure of actions in the interviewer’s first turn has a large impact. The large majority of calls in our analysis begin with either an “efficient” or “canonical” turn. In an efficient first turn, the interviewer delays identifying themselves (and thereby suggesting the purpose of the call) until they are sure they are speaking to the sample member, with the resulting efficiency that they introduce themselves only once. In a canonical turn, the interviewer introduces themselves and asks to speak to the sample member, but risks having to introduce themselves twice if the answerer is not the sample member. The odds of participation are substantially and significantly lower for an efficient turn compared to a canonical turn. It appears that how interviewers handle identification in their first turn has consequences for participation; an analysis of actions could facilitate experiments to design first interviewer turns for different target populations, study designs, and calling technologies.
Although researchers have used phone surveys for decades, the lack of an accurate picture of the call opening reduces our ability to train interviewers to succeed. Sample members decide about participation quickly. We predict participation using the earliest moments of the call; to do this, we analyze matched pairs of acceptances and declinations from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study using a case-control design and conditional logistic regression. We focus on components of the first speaking turns: acoustic-prosodic components and interviewer’s actions. The sample member’s “hello” is external to the causal processes within the call and may carry information about the propensity to respond. As predicted by Pillet-Shore (2012), we find that when the pitch span of the sample member’s “hello” is greater the odds of participation are higher, but in contradiction to her prediction, the (less reliably measured) pitch pattern of the greeting does not predict participation. The structure of actions in the interviewer’s first turn has a large impact. The large majority of calls in our analysis begin with either an “efficient” or “canonical” turn. In an efficient first turn, the interviewer delays identifying themselves (and thereby suggesting the purpose of the call) until they are sure they are speaking to the sample member, with the resulting efficiency that they introduce themselves only once. In a canonical turn, the interviewer introduces themselves and asks to speak to the sample member, but risks having to introduce themselves twice if the answerer is not the sample member. The odds of participation are substantially and significantly lower for an efficient turn compared to a canonical turn. It appears that how interviewers handle identification in their first turn has consequences for participation; an analysis of actions could facilitate experiments to design first interviewer turns for different target populations, study designs, and calling technologies.
LanguageEnglish
JournalJournal of Survey Statistics and Methodology
Volume1
Issue number1
Pages122–148
Number of pages27
ISSN2325-0984
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Keywords

  • Hello
  • Identification/recognition
  • Interaction
  • Nonresponse
  • Survey introductions

Cite this

Schaeffer, Nora Cate ; Min, Bo Hee ; Purnell, Thomas ; Garbarski, Dana ; Dykema, Jennifer. / Greeting and Response : Predicting Participation from the Call Opening. In: Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology. 2018 ; Vol. 1, No. 1. pp. 122–148
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Schaeffer, NC, Min, BH, Purnell, T, Garbarski, D & Dykema, J 2018, 'Greeting and Response: Predicting Participation from the Call Opening' Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 122–148. DOI: 10.1093/jssam/smx014

Greeting and Response : Predicting Participation from the Call Opening. / Schaeffer, Nora Cate; Min, Bo Hee; Purnell, Thomas; Garbarski, Dana; Dykema, Jennifer.

In: Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology, Vol. 1, No. 1, 03.2018, p. 122–148.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Schaeffer NC, Min BH, Purnell T, Garbarski D, Dykema J. Greeting and Response: Predicting Participation from the Call Opening. Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology. 2018 Mar;1(1):122–148. Available from, DOI: 10.1093/jssam/smx014