IRC Center FinancialOpportunitiesSan DiegoInterviewer’s Manual for a survey of San Diego refugeesJamie SchauMarch 2011
IntroductionThe International Rescue Committee (IRC) is an organization that advocates for positive changeand performs ref...
1. What to do before fieldwork:1. Attend a brief training session where you will learn about the motives and procedures fo...
know” or give an inaccurate answer. If you feel the respondent is answering without thinking,just to speed up the intervie...
next question. Spend a few moments talking about things unrelated to the interview (e.g. SanDiego area, the weather, daily...
DOs                                     DON’Ts                   Read aloud all the transitions in the     Never skip tran...
DOs                                      DON’Ts                   for the interviewers to follow.Interviewees’      Ask th...
DOs                                    DON’TsHow to treat       Code -98 for “refused to answer” in       Do not read alou...
DOs                                  DON’Ts                    answers. These are clearly indicated                    in ...
It is not necessary to read off all of the options, elect the appropriate bracket              based on the interviewee’s ...
1.8    Do you know your credit (FICO) score?       If the respondent asks you to explain what this is, mark down “No” and ...
employees’ scheduling needs, etc.        You may mark answers in corresponding boxes, and go back and code later if       ...
Be sure if the answer is yes to either of those, that you code -1 and move to        question 7a. Only if the answer is no...
Section IV: Economic Welfare and Opinions:            Remember, statements in bold do not need to be read by interviewer4....
CARD 1A      PLEASE DO NOT WRITE ON THIS CARDTELL YOUR ANSWERS TO YOUR SURVEYOR VERBALLY                                  ...
CARD 1B      PLEASE DO NOT WRITE ON THIS CARDTELL YOUR ANSWERS TO YOUR SURVEYOR VERBALLY                                  ...
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Interview manual - IRC Ctr for Financial Opportunity

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Interview Manual designed for refugees served by the International Rescue Committee's Center for Financial Opportunity in San Diego, California.

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Interview manual - IRC Ctr for Financial Opportunity

  1. 1. IRC Center FinancialOpportunitiesSan DiegoInterviewer’s Manual for a survey of San Diego refugeesJamie SchauMarch 2011
  2. 2. IntroductionThe International Rescue Committee (IRC) is an organization that advocates for positive changeand performs refugee resettlement services worldwide. The San Diego office of the IRC islooking to have its Center for Financial Opportunity (CFO) services evaluated based uponquality-of-life indicators, going beyond the typical strictly-financial metrics. The four programsthat will be assessed in this survey include:  Early Employment Services: Provides vocational counseling, resume preparation, job search and placement services, and financial assistance for basic needs with the goal of helping refugees find their first job in America and achieve early economic self- sufficiency.  Career Development: Helps clients with professional backgrounds re-enter their professions in a timely manner.  Microenterprise: Supports refugees in starting and expanding their own businesses by providing intensive technical assistance and access to capital. The IRC has aided in the start of over 120 businesses and 85 expansions.  Financial Education: Teaches refugees the basics of the U.S. financial system and encourages good habits in budgeting, credit, tax preparation, and banking. The IRC also operates an IRS VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program during tax season.In order to reach the clients who utilize these services, the series of interviews will be conductedin various neighborhoods in San Diego County where IRC’s clients reside, particularly in the ElCajon and City Heights areas. The sample of refugees who will be surveyed will berepresentative of their populations, particularly heavily focused on Burmese, Somalian and Iraqiclients.Each interviewing team will consist of a volunteer who is able to speak the same language as theclient (and translate it into written English post-survey), and if the volunteer is under 18 yearsold, s/he will be accompanied by a staff member or senior surveyor. If any issues or questionsarise, they should be communicated by the staff member or volunteer (if over 18) to an IRC CFOSupervisor immediately at number below for resolution.The interviewers are responsible for interviewing respondents and collecting information inline with this manual and the training that they have received. The following pages offer generalinstructions to ensure the interviews are of highest quality and consistent across the board. Intotal, it is expected that the IRC will conduct approximately 100 surveys.It is of utmost importance that the every question in the survey is asked in a consistent, neutraland similar way.In an emergency or with urgent questions, please contact:Thuba Nguyen or Jason Jarvinen at (619) 641-7510 2
  3. 3. 1. What to do before fieldwork:1. Attend a brief training session where you will learn about the motives and procedures for each question in the survey.2. Read the survey and this manual carefully to make sure you completely understand each question and why it is being asked.3. Talk with your IRC supervisor to go over procedures for handling the survey and field logistics.4. Confirm that you have enough spare writing pencils and paper to write down the answer and record your thoughts on the survey when necessary.5. Assure that you will have enough privacy in the location where the survey will take place, that the respondent is comfortable, and that the interview setting will have minimal interruptions.2. What to note before, during and after the interview:Appearance of interviewers in the field is very important because it can make them appear eitherclose or distant from the interviewee. Make sure that you do not wear smart/stylish-looking/highly formal clothing that creates distance between interviewers and interviewees. Please beclean, casual and comfortable.Check the respondent’s identification to make sure it matches the pre-defined list of respondentsin the region before proceeding to interview. Do NOT interview if the respondent is not on thelist. Report to Thuba Nguyen at (619) 641-7510 if this is the case.Read out loud the introduction in the questionnaire. Try to make a positive “first impression” inorder to create confidence with the respondent.VERY IMPORTANT: Please read each question exactly as it appears in the questionnaire.Do not introduce your own interpretations of the questions. Stick to the questions word-by-word.If the respondent fails to understand a particular question, only then provide an explanationprovided in this manual (see Section 4: “Question by Question Instructions”).Expressions/statements in ALL CAPS within the punctuation ((...)) are those for interviewersonly. It means that you will perform those requests by yourself, and will not read them aloud tothe interviewee. Bolded Section titles do not need to be read by the interviewer.Ask the questions slowly to ensure that the respondent understands what s/he is being asked.After you have asked a question, pause and give her/him time to think. If the respondent feelshurried or is not allowed to formulate her/his own opinion, s/he may respond with “I don’t 3
  4. 4. know” or give an inaccurate answer. If you feel the respondent is answering without thinking,just to speed up the interview, say to the respondent:“There is no hurry. Your opinion is veryimportant, so please consider you answers carefully.”Most people tend to give answers that they think you want to hear. It is therefore very importantthat you remain absolutely neutral as you ask the questions. Never, either by the expressionon your face or by the tone of your voice, allow the respondent to think that s/he has given the“right” or “wrong” answer to the question. Never appear to approve or disapprove of any of therespondent’s replies.If a respondent’s answer is not relevant to a question, do not prompt the respondent by sayingsomething like “I suppose you mean that…Is that right?” In many cases, you will get anaffirmative answer even when that is not what s/he meant.If the respondent is giving irrelevant or elaborate answers, do not stop her/him abruptly orrudely, but listen to what s/he has to say. Then try to steer the respondent gently back to theoriginal question. Please make a great effort to maintain a good atmosphere throughout theinterview. The best atmosphere for an interview is one in which the respondent sees theinterviewer as a friendly, sympathetic, and responsive person who does not intimidate her/himand to whom s/he can respond freely without feeling shy or embarrassed.Do not offer the interviewee the options of “I don’t know,” “refuses to respond” or “notapplicable”: Mark answers based on the actual response (or lack thereof) from the interviewees.Indicate that either s/he doesn’t know the answer, that s/he hesitated/refused to respond, or thatthe question was inapplicable to the respondee. Use your expression-reading skills to determineappropriate use of “don’t know,” “refused to respond,” and “N/A.”If respondent clearly is unable to answer a question, or hesitates after a period of thought on thequestion, code -99 in the box to the left for “don’t know”.If the respondent is reluctant or unwilling to answer a question, try to overcome his or herreluctance, explain once again that the same question is being asked of refugees all over SanDiego and that the answers will all be merged together – as well as the fact that all answers areconfidential. If the respondent still refuses, code -98 in the box on the left for “refused toanswer” and proceed as if nothing had happened. If you have successfully completed theinterview, you may try to obtain the missing information at the end, but do not push toohard for an answer.If the respondent is clear that the question does not apply to them, or if it is what is implied in thequestion clearly does not respond to them based on previous questions, code -97 for “notapplicable.”If the respondent seems bored or detached, gives an irrelevant answer, or contradicts somethings/he has already said, try to re-capture the respondent’s interest in the conversation. For example,if you sense that s/he is shy or afraid, try to remove his or her shyness or fear before asking the 4
  5. 5. next question. Spend a few moments talking about things unrelated to the interview (e.g. SanDiego area, the weather, daily activities).Go-to (Skip) instructions are clearly marked on the questionnaire. If there are no skipinstructions, simply proceed to the next question. If there are skip instructions, they need to befollowed carefully to make sure the right questions are asked to the right respondents.Most questions require a single answer that should be coded in the box provided on the left sideof the questionnaire. However, certain questions allow for multiple answers. These are clearlyindicated in the questionnaire.Do not leave any questions uncoded. Remember that if the respondent does not answer onequestion, even after you have reiterated the question one more time, you must mark “refused toanswer”.Before closing the interview, review the questionnaire to assure it has been completed and noquestions are missed by mistake.After you have left the interview, fill out the Post-Interview section of the questionnaire. Be sureto record anything strange that may have impacted the integrity of the results. Indicate inparticular any interruptions, settings or unexpected visitors that may have made the respondentnervous, uncomfortable, or highly distracted.At the end of your day in the field, discuss any problem you encountered with Thuba and lookfor solutions in order to avoid any repetition of them in the coming days or by other surveyors.3. DOs and DON’Ts:The following table provides detailed instructions and explanations of things that interviewersmust or should do and must not or should not do before, during and after the course of eachinterview. DOs DON’TsBefore the interview:Appearance of Wear casual clothing to make you Wear formal-looking clothing thatinterviewers in close to ordinary people. creates distance between interviewersthe field and intervieweesRespondent Make sure the respondent’s Don’t interview if the respondent is notmatching identification matches the pre-defined on the list, but report to your supervisor list of the respondents of this if this is the case. community.During the course of interviewing:Introduction Read aloud the introduction as stated Do not re-word the question in your in the questionnaire. own way. Stick to the script. 5
  6. 6. DOs DON’Ts Read aloud all the transitions in the Never skip transitions, their purpose is questionnaire. These transitions are in to keep up the interview flow, and have regular text, not CAPS LOCK like the it sound like a normal conversation. interviewer instructions.Interviewees’ Reiterate that the name of the Never ask for the respondent’s name.confidentiality interviewee will not be reported at any cost.First impression Be sure to make a positive “first Do not talk about personal issues. impression” to create confidence with the respondent. Small talk (on topics like the weather, the scenary of the San Diego) with interviewees (1-2 minute talk) is encouraged to familiarize yourself with the interviewees and help them feel comfortable.Atmosphere of Maintain a good atmosphere during Never cause tensions or trigger debatesthe interview the course of the interview. or arguments with the respondent, for any reason. The best atmosphere for an interview is one in which the respondent sees the interviewer as a friendly, sympathetic, and responsive person who does not intimidate her/him and to whom s/he can say anything without feeling shy or embarrassed.Neutrality Remain absolutely neutral as you ask Never, either by the expression on your the questions. face or by the tone of your voice, allow the respondent to think that s/he has given the “right” or “wrong” answer to the question. Never appear to approve or disapprove of any of the respondent’s replies.Treating survey Read each question exactly as it Do not introduce your ownquestions appears in the questionnaire. Stick to interpretations of the questions. the questions word by word. Do not leave any questions blank. Pay special attention to expressions/statements in ALL CAPS in the ((...)) punctuation as these are 6
  7. 7. DOs DON’Ts for the interviewers to follow.Interviewees’ Ask the questions slowly to ensure that Again, please do not introduce yourcomprehension the respondent understands what s/he own interpretations of the questions. is being asked. Provide the explanation provided in this manual (see Section “Question by Question Instructions”) only when the respondent fails to understand a particular question.Short intervals Pause and give your respondent time Never ask the respondent to respondto allow to think after each question. immediately.intervieweestime for thought If the respondent feels hurried or is not allowed to formulate her/his own opinion, s/he may respond with “I don’t know” or give an inaccurate answer. If you feel the respondent is answering without thinking, just to speed up the interview, say to the respondent: “There is no hurry. Your opinion is very important, so consider you answers carefully.”Prompting Strictly follow instructions for Do not prompt respondent by saying prompting . something like “It sounds like you mean ________. Is that right?” if the respondent’s answer is not relevant to a question. In many cases, s/he will agree with your interpretation of her/his answer, even when that is not what s/he meant.Reiterating Steer the respondent gently back to the Do not stop her/him abruptly or original question if the respondent is rudely, but listen to what s/he has to giving irrelevant or elaborate answers. say. Reiterate the question again (once) if the respondent fails to understand it.How to treat Code -99 for “don’t know” in the box Do not read aloud option for “don’t“Don’t know” on the left if the respondent says know” he/she doesn’t know the answer, or seems not to know the answer, even after careful thinking. 7
  8. 8. DOs DON’TsHow to treat Code -98 for “refused to answer” in Do not read aloud option “refuses to“Refuses to the box on the left and proceed as if answer.”answer” nothing had happened in case the respondent refuses to answer. Do not push too hard for an answer. Mark “refused to answer” when respondent does not answer one Remember, the respondent cannot be question even after you have reiterated forced to give an answer. the question one more time. If the respondent is reluctant or unwilling to answer a question, try to overcome her/his reluctance, explaining once again that the same question is being asked of refugees all over San Diego and that the answers will all be confidential, and merged together.Regaining Do your best to re-interest the Do not leave room for boredom duringinterviewees’ respondent in the conversation if the the course of the interview.interests respondent seems bored or detached, gives an irrelevant answer, or contradicts something s/he has already said. For example, if you sense that s/he is shy or afraid, try to remove her/his shyness or fear before asking the next question. Spend a few moments talking about things unrelated to the interview (e.g. San Diego, the weather, her/his daily activities).How to treat Follow orange-arrowed skipping Do not miss any question at any cost!skipping paterns patterns carefully to make sure the right questions are asked to the right respondents. Proceed to the subsequent question if no skipping instructions are provided.How to treat Strictly follow instructions for “moremultiple than one answer permitted” questions.choice/answer Note down all responses provided byquestions the respondent, and code appropriately. Certain questions allow for multiple 8
  9. 9. DOs DON’Ts answers. These are clearly indicated in the questionnaire.Closing Say “thank you” to the respondent. Don’t miss any question by mistake!interviews Double-check the questionnaire to ensure that no questions are missed by mistake. Fill in final question and interviewer comments in the Post Interview section. Sign the questionnaire before handing it in to Thuba.After the interview:Debriefing at the Discuss any problem you encounterend of each during the day with Thuba or yourinterview day supervisor and look for solutions in order to avoid any repetition of them in the coming days.4. Question-by-Question Instructions:This part of the interview manual provides detailed instructions and explanations to variousquestions in the questionnaire to help interviewers to better understand them correctly and beclear on how to conduct the interview. Remember that in case of doubt, you must discuss ANYissues with your supervisor. Section I: Background and Demographics Remember, statements in bold do not need to be read by interviewer1.1 What ethnicity are you? Don’t read the options. Let the interviewee tell you what ethnicity s/he is. If their answer is not on the list, check the “Other” box and fill in his or her response under 1a.1.2 How old were you on your last birthday? 9
  10. 10. It is not necessary to read off all of the options, elect the appropriate bracket based on the interviewee’s response. 1.4 How many individuals are there in your household? The respondent may be confused about who to consider a household member. Clarify, if necessary, that children and babies count, as well as anyone else who sleeps in the household more than half of the time. 1.4a How many of these individuals are formally employed? If the interviewee is not sure who to consider “formally employed,” explain that part- and full-time formal employees – basically anyone paying taxes – are considered “employed” for our purposes. 1.4b How many children (under the age of 18) are there living in the household? If there is confusion on this point, clarify that 18-year-olds do count as adults. “Living in the household” is considered those who sleep in the household more than half of the time. 1.5 What is the highest level of formal education you have completed? If clarification is needed, explain that:  “Completed” means that all full academic years were finished  Primary education is elementary and/or middle school (1-9 years [total], generally)  Secondary education is high school (10-13 years [total], generally)  College includes community colleges, vocational and/or technical degrees, and accredited online degrees (14-18 years [total], generally)  University education is a four-year institution (14-18 years [total], generally)  Professional or post-graduate education includes that received beyond a 4-year university degree, such as a law degree or an MBA (19-24 years [total], generally)Which of IRCWhich of the following programs are you – or have you been – involved with? 1.6a-e Make it clear to the respondent that s/he can select multiple programs, and to please advise you of ALL of the ones s/he is involved with. 1.7 How long have you been receiving IRC career / financial assistance? If clarification is needed, explain that this figure will include ANY time that the respondent was receiving ANY Center for Financial Opportunity services. 10
  11. 11. 1.8 Do you know your credit (FICO) score? If the respondent asks you to explain what this is, mark down “No” and skip to question 1.91.9 What is your household income: If the respondent seems confused, explain that “household income” is the total income of everyone in the home that earns a wage.1.10 How has your income changed in the last 12 months? Please be sure to only allow one answer. Section II: Employment Conditions, Opinions and Prospects: Remember, statements in bold do not need to be read by interviewer2.1 Are you formally employed? If the interviewee is confused about what is considered “formally employed,” we mean to say part or full-time formal employment i.e. if s/he pays taxes, s/he is employed. Please hand card # 1A or 1B (attached at bottom of Interview Manual) to respondent, each of which have all the same options but in opposite orders. Be sure to alternate the cards at each interview. The cards do not include the N/A or “don’t know” options, please do not verbally offer them these either, but do code them in the box on the left if it is clear that the respondent does not know or is unwilling to answer. The respondent can either point at or utter his/her answer. Once you get the answer, please mark the corresponding questions appropriately on the questionnaire. Please read questions in sequence – first read 1a., list options, obtain an answer, then move on to 1b., etc. 2.1 d. Please explain that this question is referring to whether the respondent is in a work environment in which s/he feels comfortable learning and developing his or her language skills, and has those opportunities. 2.1f. If the client needs clarification, explain that “employer flexibility” refers to whether they allow changes in the schedule, time off when necessary, consider 11
  12. 12. employees’ scheduling needs, etc. You may mark answers in corresponding boxes, and go back and code later if this makes you more comfortable with the alotted time. After respondent has finished, collect the card from him or her.2.2 Who do you turn to for help when you have a question about a standard work procedure, for example: how to fill out a time card, what is appropriate attire, etc.? If the client is not clear on “another social service,” provide the examples: CalWorks, 2-1-1, Salvation Army, etc. Please emphasize that there is more than one option permitted, and code all answers selected. For example, if respondent chooses the first three options, code -0122.4 How many hours per week do you work? Emphasize that this is total hours in a whole week, Sunday to Sunday. If the respondent requests further explanation, use this as an example: If you work an eight hour work day, and work six days per week, then you have a [8*6=] 48 hour work week.2.5 How long is your work commute each day, round trip? Be sure to emphasize that this is a daily – not weekly – figure. Explain, if necessary, that a commute includes time spent walking, on a bicycle, public transportation, or in a vehicle (personal or shared) – heading to or home from work. Round trip will be the sum of both legs of the journey.2.6 Were you or will you be required to obtain a license or certification for a job that you were already licensed for or practiced in your home country? If clarification is needed – explain that this applies to people who either have already obtained a license/certification, or those who will have to in the future. In BOTH cases, if the answer is yes, please do not skip to 2.7, but continue below on 2.6a.2.6a. If yes, do you feel that when you need this certification (or if you needed another, or to re-certify), that you could obtain it independently? If there is confusion, remember that this question is meant to apply to those who have not AND those who have obtained these licenses or certifications. So if they have already, this is a direct question. If they have not yet, this is a hypothetical.2.7 Are you in the process of starting your own business,or are you currently running your own business? 12
  13. 13. Be sure if the answer is yes to either of those, that you code -1 and move to question 7a. Only if the answer is no to both questions will you skip to 2.8. Please note this does question is meant to include those who ARE AND ARE NOT receiving IRC services. Advise the respondent of this if the question is asked.2.7a. If yes, do you feel that the establishment of this business has helped or hindered you in any of the following? There may be more than one option selected. Read all of the options through once, then go back, repeat them each individually and wait for an answer before moving to the next option. This way the respondent will know all of the options before answering, and that they do not necessarily have to have experienced any of these feelings. Code all of the options that the respondent selects. For instance, if s/he picks the first and fourth, code -03. If s/he picks none, code -5.2.8 If income from formal employment is not sufficient to cover your expenses or you do not have formal employment, in what way or ways do you support yourself? Respondent may choose multiple answers. Please clarify, if respondent is confused, that this applies to those who ARE and who ARE NOT employed. Do not provide the “Other” option, but if the client advises you of another means, tick the “Other” box and fill in the blank. If there are questions as to the meaning of “another organization or agency” – please name some various examples such as CalWorks, 2-1-1, Salvation Army. Section III: Personal Independence and Confidence: Remember, statements in bold do not need to be read by interviewer3.1 How confident do you feel in your ability to navigate the following procedures by yourself, without any outside assistance? Please be sure to read slowly and clearly, and repeat the options when necessary. If necessary, explain that “outside assistance” includes anyone: friends, family, IRC, language tutors, etc. Read the questions in sequence, starting with 1a., reading all options, waiting for an answer, then moving on to 1b., etc. You may mark answers in corresponding boxes, and go back and code later if this makes you more comfortable with the alotted time.3.1c. Preparing and Executing a Budget: If the client seems confused or needs clarification, please explain that this entails saving enough money to meet expenses and paying bills on time every month. 13
  14. 14. Section IV: Economic Welfare and Opinions: Remember, statements in bold do not need to be read by interviewer4.4 What do you think the financial situation of your family will be two years from now? Clarify, if necessary, that this is a hypothetical question. Respondent should give you his or her best guess.4.5 Which of the following do you and / or your family own? For each item that the respondent answers “no” to, leave the box blank and move to the sub-question below it. Only codeon number in the box: -0 if the respondent does own the item, and -1 or -2 if they do not. If the respondent answers yes, check the box (and code -0), then move on to the next sub-question.Closing Take your time to review the survey prior to leaving, and ask the respondent any questions that might have been missed. Thank the respondent and make your exit. **Do not fill in interviewer comments in the residence. Please leave and fill out the “comments” section outside, immediately after interview. Section V: Post-Interview: Remember, statements in bold do not need to be read by interviewer5.1 What is the sex of the respondent? This is to be answered by the interviewer, not the respondent.Comments Interviewer Comments: Be sure to record anything strange that may have impacted the integrity of the results. Indicate in particular any interruptions, settings or unexpected visitors that may have made the respondent nervous, uncomfortable, or highly distracted. Print your name and sign the bottom of the questionnaire.Cards #1A and 1B are attached below, to be brought to every interview. 14
  15. 15. CARD 1A PLEASE DO NOT WRITE ON THIS CARDTELL YOUR ANSWERS TO YOUR SURVEYOR VERBALLY 15
  16. 16. CARD 1B PLEASE DO NOT WRITE ON THIS CARDTELL YOUR ANSWERS TO YOUR SURVEYOR VERBALLY 16

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