Conversational interviewing: Views of Meaning

Conversational interviewing: Views of Meaning

I. Rationale for standardized wording is that meaning resides in words
– If respondents get same words, get same meaning
– Message model (Akmajian et al, 1990)
– Pretesting can remove most comprehension errors

II. Alternative: meaning rests on collaboration
– Participatns must talk about meaning to be sure listener interprets as speaker intends, i.e,, utterance must be grounded
– Collaborative theory (e.g. Clark, 1996)
– Pretesting cannot anticipate mapping ambiguities for the many respondents in a diverse sample; clarification needed IN INTERVIEW.

Questionnaire Design for Social Surveys
University of Michigan