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The Health Care Information (HCI) Call Center is located in the Center for Health Statistics within the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Since 1988 the Call Center has conducted the Oklahoma BRFSS. In addition to the BRFSS, the Call Center has conducted various surveys on the health of the Native American population in Oklahoma, Intimate Partner Violence, Racial and Ethnic Minority Health, Influenza Vaccination Assessment and Disaster/Terrorism Preparedness. More recently the Call Center has administered surveys on asthma prevalence and assessment of the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline.
The Call Center is staffed by 13 interviewers, who are dedicated to collecting the most accurate and reliable information possible. The Call Center staff follow strict guidelines developed by the CDC in order to assure that the data collected is accurate, unbiased and confidential.
Summary of Interviewing Process
The job of interviewing strangers is not an easy task. The people with whom the interviewers come in contact with in an interview situation may be totally unlike anyone they have ever dealt with. The respondents are young, old, poor, wealthy, uneducated, or educated and sometimes skeptical. There are people who are anxious to tell their opinion and are flattered that they were called. Other people hang up before the interviewer can explain the purpose of the call. There are also those who are sincerely interested in the issues and who answer the questions frankly. These kinds of people are a delight to interview. Some people honestly know nothing about the subject and tell the interviewer from the beginning to the end of the call.
It is this great diversity of Oklahoma residents that make the job of an interviewer demanding and challenging. The best interviewers are those who genuinely enjoy a variety of personalities. A good interviewer must like people of all types. The Oklahoma BRFSS survey must reach a cross-section of the Oklahoma population. A good interviewer is committed to obtaining the best possible results with every interview and will rise to the challenge of a difficult respondent.
The Role of the Interviewer
The work group of interviewers is the most crucial and important link between the respondents we talk to and the researchers who are conducting the study. It is the interviewers who are actually in contact with Oklahoma residents and obtaining their opinion. Every interviewer is an integral part of ensuring a high quality of data for the study. Without competent interviewers, the researchers could not trust the data they compile.
The information interviewers receive from individuals they talk to must be reliable and accurate. After an interview is completed, the only record of the respondent is the computer questionnaire file. Any information and responses, which were given by the respondent but never recorded on the questionnaire, are lost forever. The only data that can be used for analysis is that which is actually recorded. Answers not recorded, or recorded incorrectly are not possible to analyze. The burden of obtaining good solid research data lives with our team of trained interviewers. It is a big responsibility, and a lot of people depend on the quality of work that we do.
It is each interviewer's responsibility to clearly understand the questionnaire and the contents of each of the questions. The interviewers must be familiar with all instructions regarding the procedures for recording responses, skip patterns, coding call results, and any related forms.
Activities of Note
Conducted the National Pilot for the 2005 BRFSS Survey
Organized and hosted the BRFSS Regional Supervisors and Interviewers Training in Oklahoma City in 2006. The BRFSS 2006 Interviewer Conference packet (PDF, 1 MB) was distributed to participants and included the agenda and copies of the presentations.
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