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Article

Глазами интервьюера, глазами респондента: контуры нового подхода к оценке когнитивной нагрузки при проведении опроса

Девятко И. Ф., Лебедев Д. В.

The belief that survey research instruments mediating communication between an interviewer and a respondent influence the quality of data obtained in the process of survey interview, has become a conventional wisdom long ago. However, among various methods of pre-testing, evaluating survey instruments’ quality and revealing the potential sources of measurement bias, the methods of quantitative estimation of cognitive load experienced by interviewers or respondents during the interview are still lacking. In a case of personal interview as a means of survey data collection, physical and, to a much greater extent, mental efforts are invested by both respondents and interviewers. In the situation when a questionnaire is filled up by an interviewer it is the latter who primarily has to allocate limited individual resources of attention, memory, visual and motor control, active listening and interpretation in order to minimize misunderstandings of the question on the respondent’s side and errors of the answers’ fixation on interviewer's own side. Successfully performing such multiple tasks demands considerable metacognitive and self-regulatory skills from the interviewer. Interviewers’ multitasking in the process of conducting an interview, including tasks of maintaining communication with a respondent, controlling over one’s own actions of filling-in the questionnaire and over the technical part of the process, fixation of possible disturbances during the interview and so on, may lead to depletion of available cognitive resources and to interviewer’s cognitive overload. This can result in the deterioration of data quality. However, sociologists’ attention to the measurement of cognitive load in the process of interview has been minimal so far. The article presents results of an analytical review of traditional and modern approaches to the measurement of the cognitive load, employed in such disciplinary fields as cognitive science, ergonomics, research on the processes of education and problem-solving, etc. The authors substantiate the possibility of employment of some subjective, objective and behavioral measures of cognitive load for the purposes of quantitative evaluation and optimization of interviewer’s (and, in prospect, respondent’s) cognitive load, which arises during the interview process. We also outline the near perspectives and expected benefits of the development of an integral methodological approach to the employment of multiple indicators of cognitive load in the surveys of various types. Keywords: interview-evoked cognitive load; subjective measures of cognititve load, objective and behavioral measures of cognitive load, task-evoked pupillary response, subjective cognitive load measurement scales, survey data quality