Interviewer-respondent interactions in CAPI and CATI: Rapport through laughter?

Ongena, Y., Jul-2017.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic

Various studies have shown that social desirability bias and satisficing are more prevalent in CATI than in CAPI surveys. Although this difference has theoretically been explained in terms of rapport (Holbrook et al 2003), it has not systematically been studied whether interviewer-respondent interactions in CATI and CAPI surveys indeed show a difference in rapport. Rapport is a concept that is difficult to define, and may be related to various types of behaviors in interviewer-respondent interaction. One specific behavior that may be related to rapport is laughter. We analyzed 60 CATI and 54 CAPI interviews that originated from a mixed-mode experiment using the European Social Survey questionnaire (Haan 2015). Analysis was based on a coding scheme developed by Garbarski, Dykema and Schaeffer (2016), who define rapport in terms of responsiveness by interviewers and engagement by respondents. We found mixed differences with respect to behaviors related to rapport. For example, interviewer laughter appeared to be more common in CATI than in CAPI, but apologetic utterances such as ‘sorry’ occurred equally often in both modes. Furthermore, a significant difference was found in the number of words uttered. Question-answer sequences contained on average two more words in CATI than in CAPI. This effect is partly explained by the fact that for many questions in the CAPI survey show cards were used, and in those cases extension of interaction in CATI interviews is due to less efficient communication about response alternatives. Further analysis of extended interactions showed that respondents in CATI had more difficulty in formulating their response and had more difficulties with question wording than in CAPI. These task-related issues may contribute to the effect of decreased trust and motivation of respondents in CATI interviews, and may subsequently explain the increased level of satisficing and social desirability bias in this survey mode compared to CAPI.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2017
EventEuropean Survey Research Association - University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 17-Jul-201721-Jul-2017
Conference number: 7


ConferenceEuropean Survey Research Association
Internet address


European Survey Research Association


Lisbon, Portugal

Event: Conference

ID: 51647663