This market research organisation has forty part-time women interviewers, covering a large geographical area. Many of them work alone. Duties include carrying out interviews on doorsteps, homes and in public places. The risk of violence is increased in difficult geographic and social areas or when questions have the potential to annoy or antagonise people.
- Threats - from groups of people who congregate during street interviews.
- Verbal abuse - if people become upset by the questions asked.
- Physical violence and theft - from people trying to take free samples.
- Damage to cars - stones may be thrown at cars as they drive away.
Reducing the risk
Training and information
- Trainee interviewers are informed of potential problems which they may face.
- Staff are trained to look out for cues to potential problems. They also share information about difficult areas and situations.
- Staff are trained to smile and be friendly. If in doubt about a person's mood, they should terminate the interview, apologise and leave.
- Staff are told to be truthful and assure respondents of confidentiality.
- Staff do not challenge answers, except to seek clarification,
- Researchers prefer viewing tests or 'hall' tests which involve an invited audience in a single location with a team of researchers.
- When entering a home, interviewers try to sit or stand where they have a clear view of the room, its exit and the interviewee.
- Mobile phones are carried, but are often turned off during the interview.
- Dressing down rather than up enables interviewers to merge with people in a specific area.
- Researchers call on their manager to help if there are problems.
- Researchers try to park their cars where they can see them.