Information Processing In A Structured Interview: Identifying Use Of Heuristics And Heuristic-based Bias
The survey interview has been recognized as the most frequently used data collection procedure in the social sciences (Dijkstra & van der Zouwen, l987). Although the survey interview is an essential methodological tool in social science research, it is fraught with problems of validity and reliability. Cognitive psychology offers a perspective to further explore the methodological facets of the survey interview. Research in the underlying cognitive processes involved in information processing over the past two decades has enhanced the understanding and utility of the survey interview in survey methodology (Tourangeau, Couper, & Conrad, 2004; Tourangeau, Rips, & Rasinski, 2000; Sudman, Bradburn, & Schwarz, l996; Tanur, l992; Hippler, Schwarz, & Sudman, l987; Jabine, Straf, Tanur, & Tourangeau, l984). Identifying evidence of the use of heuristics and heuristic-based bias provides a cognitive perspective that can introduce insights and valuable information on the judgment and decision-making process of practitioners and researchers who conduct clinical and survey interviews. This study is an exploratory, secondary analysis of a primary study data set comprised of respondent answers recorded in 30 structured interviews. Guided by information processing theory and the psychology of human judgment, the study seeks to identify evidence of judgmental heuristics and heuristic-based bias. The study also examines contextual influences within the structured interviews that may affect the use of judgmental heuristics.