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Web Survey Bibliography

Title Race-of-Interviewer Effects: What Happens on the Web?
Year 2004
Access date 30.06.2004
Abstract This paper builds on a surprising finding in an earlier laboratory experiment studying race of interviewer effects in live as against “virtual” interviews where videos of an interviewer reading the questions are played to respondents on a laptop computer. We expected the virtual interviewer to generate social-presence-like effects, based on research showing that people treat computers like social actors and evidence that the “mere presence” of a person of another race can shape expressions of racial attitudes. Unexpectedly, rather than mimicking social presence and reducing negative racial attitudes, whites in the virtual condition gave more racially conservative responses to the black as compared to the white interviewer. Our post-hoc interpretation drew on the psychological concept of “activation,” in which negative stereotypes are triggered when subjects are presented with an image of the target group, and thus the virtual black interviewer, rather than suppressing racial prejudice with social presence, instead activated negative attitudes. We tested this hypothesis with a web survey-based experiment using a representative sample (Knowledge Networks panel, n=1,120). A 2X2 betweensubjects design manipulated race of interviewer and social presence versus activation. Social presence was created by photographs of a black or white interviewer appearing at several points, accompanied by interviewer feedback and commentary. The activation condition was manipulated by the onetime appearance of a montage of (black or white) persons. Our two hypotheses are: (1) Whites presented with a “single white interviewer” will give more racially conservative responses than those presented with a “single African American interviewer.” (2) Whites completing a survey where the first screen has a montage of African Americans will give more racially conservative responses than those completing a survey with a montage of whites. We measured several dimensions of racial attitudes and hypothesized that perceptions of discrimination, stereotypes, and racial policies would be most likely to show the expected effects. Findings indicate mixed support, with questions about discrimination and racial policies showing the strongest effects. Sub-group analyses reveal different effects depending on respondent’s political ideology.
Year of publication2004
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations