The behavior of the survey administrator

After all the preliminary considerations, we have finally arrived at the actual day of the survey. The survey administrator is facing the participants (obviously, this section does not apply to postal surveys) and is ready to launch into his/her pep talk. However, in line with the saying, 'Actions speak louder than words,' we need to be aware that our behavior is also conveying important messages to the respondents. The administrators of the questionnaire are, in many ways, identified with the whole survey and, therefore, everything about them matters:

• clothes should be business-like but certainly not more formal than what is typical in the given environment;

• the way they introduce themselves is important: friendliness is imperative and smiling usually breaks the ice effectively;

• overall conduct should be professional to represent the serious character of the survey without being stiff and unnatural.

A crucial aspect of the survey administrators' behavior is that it should exhibit keen involvement in the project and show an obvious interest in the outcome (Clemans, 1971). They should establish rapport and give encouragement, thereby projecting positive attitudes and 'pulling along' the respondents. Skilled questionnaire administrators are able to sustain rapport and participant motivation throughout the whole questionnaire completion process.

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