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Conversational interviewing is also known as “flexible” interviewing or “conversationally flexible” interviewing. These terms refer to an alternative style of survey interviewing that allows deviations from the norms of standardized interviewing. Under conversational interviewing procedures, interviewers are allowed to ask respondents if they did not understand a question and provide unscripted feedback to clarify the meaning of questions as necessary. Conversational interviewing represents an alternative set of techniques to standardized survey interviewing whereby interviewers are allowed to provide unscripted information to respondents in an effort to clarify question meaning.

Proponents of conversational interviewing techniques argue that standardized procedures may reduce the accuracy of survey responses because standardization precludes conversational interactions that may be required for respondents to understand some questions. A key distinction between standardized and ...

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