Methodological considerations in the use of name generators and interpreters


With data from the Clergy Health Initiative Longitudinal Survey, we look for interviewer effects, differences between web and telephone delivery, and panel conditioning bias in an “important matters” name generator and interpreter, replicated from the U.S. General Social Survey. We find evidence of phone interviewers systematically influencing the number of confidants named, we observe that respondents assigned to the web survey reported a larger number of confidants, and we uncover strong support for panel conditioning. We discuss the possible mechanisms behind these observations and conclude with a brief discussion of the implications of our findings for similar studies.