Interviewer bias has been defined as 'a unidirectional attitude, opinion or expectation held consistently by an interviewer'. The traditional view is that bias arises through communication to the respondent of the interviewer's own ideology and expectations or through the interviewer's motivation to influence results to confirm with his or her own ideology. In practice it seems that interviewer bias is most likely to be a problem when respondents do not have firmly held opinions or attitudes of their own. It is seen as a problem most seriously in fields of social research, but should also be borne in mind when research is being carried out on subjects that may be controversial, such as drinking and smoking. It is usual when interviewers are recruited for them to be screened for political activity if they are likely to be employed in asking political questions.
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