Most research interviewers are women, particularly for consumer research. Increasingly, women are also being used for industrial research. There are several reasons why women are more likely to be interviewers than men. First, the work is of a part-time and intermittent nature and is generally rather poorly paid. This may make it an impractical job proposition for many men but may be a highly suitable occupation for those women with family commitments. The part-time and intermittent nature of the work enables interviewers to build sufficient flexibility around their work programme to fit in with domestic commitments. Second, the socialization process results in the fact that women generally find it easier to play the neutral listener role than do men, and women are usually more readily and freely spoken to than men. Increasingly in industrial interviewing where men were used previously, mainly because of the technical knowledge required, it has been found to be easier for women to obtain interviews and they may obtain fuller information.

Conversely, with increasing levels of violence, particularly in the innercity areas and after dark, men are being used for interviewing in these kinds of situations. High levels of unemployment have also led to more men being recruited as interviewers.

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