9 Cognitive Interviewing in Mixed Research

ISABEL BENITEZ BAENA and JOSÉ-LUIS PADILLA

University of Granada, Spain

9.1 INTRODUCTION

Cognitive interviewing methodology, with its ability to reveal the substantive meaning behind a survey statistic, can provide critical insight into question performance. Nonetheless, cognitive interviewing methodology has its own limitations and cannot provide an entire picture of question performance. While cognitive interviewing can show that a particular interpretive pattern does indeed exist, it cannot determine the extent or magnitude to which that pattern would occur in a survey sample. Nor can cognitive interviewing studies reveal the extent to which variation of interpretive patterns would occur across various groups of respondents. In addition, the method cannot fully determine the extent to which respondents experience difficulty when attempting to answer a question. In short, as a qualitative methodology, cognitive interviewing studies lack the ability to provide quantitative assessment—a component particularly essential to the field of survey methodology. Integrating quantitative methods into cognitive interviewing studies can work to resolve these limitations.

This chapter illustrates how cognitive interviewing studies, as presented in this book, might be combined with quantitative methodologies in order to reveal a more detailed picture of question performance that neither methodology could portray on its own. The chapter first describes ...

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