Bias in interview data created by presence of a third party: methodological issues in a study of intra-household deprivation

Sara Cantillon, Carol Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article examines the potential for bias in individual responses to sensitive survey questions caused by the presence of another adult at the time of interview. Specifically it looks at the issue of data collection in relation to questions on material equality between married couples within the same household. It examines the differences, if any, between interviews conducted with an individual husband or wife alone versus those conducted in the presence of a third party using data from the 1999 Living in Ireland Survey. The findings suggest that the presence of an adult is common and is nonrandom varying significantly across various household characteristics. The results find that a significant bias exists in the responses given by wives in relation to relative deprivation questions but that this bias does not exist in the case of husbands. The extent of this bias is measured and the deprivation index corrected appropriately. This study highlights the importance of ensuring either that candidates are interviewed separately where sensitive questions are being asked, or, that the presence of an adult is recorded during the interview process
so considerations of the kind highlighted in this paper can be made.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-44
Number of pages12
JournalRadical Statistics
Volume90
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Keywords

  • spouse presence
  • bias in survey responses
  • intra-household distribution
  • deprivation
  • interview process

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