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Telephone Interviews Case Study: Restoring Rivers One Reach at a Time: Results from a Survey of U.S. River Restoration Practitioners Boris Bruk February.

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Presentation on theme: "Telephone Interviews Case Study: Restoring Rivers One Reach at a Time: Results from a Survey of U.S. River Restoration Practitioners Boris Bruk February."— Presentation transcript:

1 Telephone Interviews Case Study: Restoring Rivers One Reach at a Time: Results from a Survey of U.S. River Restoration Practitioners Boris Bruk February 20, 2008

2 Telephone Interviews A telephone interview is a technique that allows administering a survey or a questionnaire orally. One of the most frequently used methods of collecting information. Usually relatively brief but allows collecting extensive information within a short period of time.

3 Telephone Interviews Establishing the atmosphere of trust and respect is important. Research shows that respondents often provide more honest answers, when they are interviewed by phone. GAO experts believe that voice and verbal mannerisms are key factors in the success of the [telephone] interview.

4 Telephone Interviews One of the technologies currently used by survey and analysis centers is Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI). CATI combines the functions of interviewing, data entry, and data-cleaning. Questions are displayed on the screen. The interviewer enters responses directly into the database. Questions in the questionnaire are designed in accordance with specific guidelines for structured telephone surveys.

5 Advantages of Telephone Interviews High speed of collecting information within a comparatively short period of time. Individuals often provide more honest responses than the respondents of mail or face-to-face surveys. Help obtain relatively high response rates. May quickly cover broader geographic scope.

6 Advantages of Telephone Interviews Often allow effective handling of unexpected events while collecting information. Do not require extensive staff training. The non-respondent problem is usually comparatively insignificant.

7 Disadvantages of Telephone Interviews Instrument development takes relatively long time. Costs may be significant. Do not allow oral and visual communication, which can make it difficult to establish contact with the respondents.

8 Case Study: Restoring Rivers One Reach at a Time: Results from Survey of U.S. River Restoration Practitioners Background Information River restoration: a range of activities aimed at managing U.S. freshwaters. Over $1 billion is spent annually on river restoration efforts. In 2001, the National River Restoration Science Synthesis (NRRSS) working group was created. Purpose: - to evaluate river restoration in the U.S. from a scientific perspective - to determine the common elements of ecologically successful restoration projects

9 Case Study: Restoring Rivers One Reach at a Time: Results from Survey of U.S. River Restoration Practitioners 37,000 records on river restoration projects from 800 data sources were compiled and incorporated into the NRRSS data-base. Problems Lack of detailed information on restoration projects. Only 10% of project records indicated any form of monitoring.

10 Case Study: Restoring Rivers One Reach at a Time: Results from Survey of U.S. River Restoration Practitioners Methods Telephone interviews to obtain detailed information on randomly selected projects The interviews were based on information entered in the NRRSS data-base Eligibility Projects within the data-base, which (1) occurred within one of 23 states contained in 7 regional nodes; (2) implemented b/n ; (3) had info about the project contact; (4) listed at least one of selected project goals.

11 Case Study: Restoring Rivers One Reach at a Time: Results from Survey of U.S. River Restoration Practitioners Process and Procedures Identified research questions (the role of science in restoration; the extent and types of project evaluation; evaluation of success; lessons learned). Designed the interview questionnaire Grouped questions by topic area Reduced the # of questions for the interview not to exceed 30 minutes Submitted the questionnaire for expert review.

12 Case Study: Restoring Rivers One Reach at a Time: Results from Survey of U.S. River Restoration Practitioners Process and Procedures The interview was pilot tested on one or two project contacts from each node Conducted additional working group meeting (eliminated redundant questions, rephrased confusing questions, etc.) Submitted all required documents to IRB.

13 Case Study: Restoring Rivers One Reach at a Time: Results from Survey of U.S. River Restoration Practitioners Process and Procedures Sent a 1-page summary of interview themes and a confidentiality agreement to respondents (project managers). Scheduled time for the interview. Interviews followed the common pattern. Questions allowed open-ended responses that were then classified into specific categories.

14 Case Study: Restoring Rivers One Reach at a Time: Results from Survey of U.S. River Restoration Practitioners Process and Procedures All data was entered in Microsoft Access data- bases (7; 1 for each node). The databases were then compiled into a single data-base. All identifying information (names, project names, locations) was removed from the data- base.

15 Case Study: Restoring Rivers One Reach at a Time: Results from Survey of U.S. River Restoration Practitioners Results Obtained a high response rate: 75%. Completed interviews with the coordinators of 317 river restoration projects. 50% indicated that projects were initiated because of the recognized need to address river degradation.

16 Case Study: Restoring Rivers One Reach at a Time: Results from Survey of U.S. River Restoration Practitioners Results Most projects involved partnerships of 7 to 8 organizations + citizen groups. Over 65% of project coordinators stated that their project was completely successful. Optimistic view of the standard practice of river restoration in the U.S.

17 Case Study: Restoring Rivers One Reach at a Time: Results from Survey of U.S. River Restoration Practitioners Results 83% of respondents indicated that some monitoring data had been collected. Importantly, the previous analysis of written records showed that only 10% contained information about some monitoring framework.

18 Case Study: Restoring Rivers One Reach at a Time: Results from Survey of U.S. River Restoration Practitioners Major Recommendations - Increase cost effectiveness of the river restoration projects - Improve project monitoring and information sharing - Rigorous and coordinated monitoring of the key projects is needed.

19 Case Study: Restoring Rivers One Reach at a Time: Results from Survey of U.S. River Restoration Practitioners Quality of the Case /+/ Excellent case study to examine if you are interested in the process and procedures for conducting a telephone interview. /- / Often confusing and hard to follow on the level of research project goals and results.

20 Thank You!


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