Use of Special Interviewer Types

This is a great feature when you have a subset of sample that you want a group of interviewers to focus on. For example, you may have a study that is primarily composed of English speaking households but you have some small portion that is potentially Spanish speaking so you may want to put the Spanish sample into a Special Interviewer type so that bi-lingual interviewers can work that sample.

The sample will act like Preview/Power mode where a single number is dialed at a time for each special interviewer.

You need a balance between the number of phone numbers assigned as a special type versus the number of Special Type Interviewers calling. You might want to consider Markets if this is not the case. Having a large number of phone numbers assigned a special type with only say 1 interviewer calling on it is counter-productive.

You can further control the behavior of special interviewers with the Special_Only_Special fon file option which determines if these interviewers are restricted to only special sample (Yes) or if they can dial on non-special sample if no special remains available (No).

Setting the special interviewer type in the phone record

You can set it by putting the code 0-9 in column 22 of the raw or ASCII phone record and then add the record in using Fonebuld. These numbers will be loaded into the fresh bucket with all the other sample. If you want to directly load these numbers into the special stack you will need to put SPECIAL=# in columns 31-46 of the raw record as well.

You can use a phone,O,<code> statement in the questionnaire. Records marked in this way will be put down in one of the timed or system call back stacks like any other number. You could use this for example to mark all suspends as special type 1 so that only experienced interviewers can ever resume suspended interviews.

You can also use a phone,S with a status code of 191-199 (non-specific callback) or 201-209 (non-specific callback/no history) to set it in the questionnaire. Records marked this way will be put down directly into the special stack. You could use this for example to mark a Spanish speaking household that a non-Spanish speaking interviewer just called. You may want to call them right back since you know they are home.

You can use the # or f option in Foneutil to find a record and then navigate to the special interviewer flag field on the record and change it.

PHONE_MAKE_SPECIAL_TYPE – You can now mark a set of numbers to be available for special interviewers in foneutil and survsupr while the study is live. Where “#” is a number 0-9. Numbers 1 to 9 assign the special type to that number. If the number is “0”, it removes any previous special typing. The program will prompt for a “select” statement to say which records to operate on.

Assigning special types to interviewers

You can use columns 32-40 of the employee file to permanently set this. The employee file is called

The supervisor can type S=<values> at the end of a Start/STS/ATM command to assign all of the started interviewers those special statuses.

The interviewer can type S=<values> after the name at the enter interviewer ID prompt.

Keep in mind, if more than one of the above have special settings, you get the last one set. In other words, the settings at the interviewer ID prompt override any previous settings, and the settings from the supervisor override any settings in the employee file. Note, you can say S=0 to run as a normal interviewer even if values are set in the employee file.

Also note that even if an interviewer is assigned to multiple special types, a phone record can only be a single one.

Other features to use

If you are not getting special type phone numbers here are a few programming/supervisor techniques:

You can use the Phone,N,Special statement in your spec so interviewers in get specific mode can retrieve numbers that are not of their special types.

Numbers that are in the special interviewer stack are no longer subject to market weights and will be delivered to the interviewer unless you have marketweightzerostatus set to a non-zero value.

You can use the “S” option in Foneutil (not on the help menu) to move a selection of special type numbers from their current availability directly into the special interviewer stack. This will NOT move hidden, resolved, UITA, or records in the error stack.

Phone_Gather_Special option in Foneutil or SurvSupr to move numbers from other stacks to “special interviewer” stacks. You likely want to use a select statement so as to only move the records you want and not all sample. Use [5020.5]>=350 to only include records in the timezone/bucket grid.

Phone_Sort_Special option in Foneutil or SurvSupr to sort “special interviewer” stacks by time zone for proper call order.

You can use the “T” option in Phonerpt to produce Report 8 which shows availability by all the special interviewer types.

  • specialinterviewer.doc