A General Model of the Survey Interaction Process

James L. Esposito and J.B. Jobe


In this paper, we propose a general model of the survey interaction process. Our framework consists of three components: the survey context, the survey participants, and a descriptive model of the interviewer-respondent interaction process. Because subjective perceptions of the survey context influence the way individuals interpret, ask, and respond to survey questions, we first present a taxonomy of contextual variables. We then briefly discuss our views on the nature of the human organism, as these views will have implications for the behavior of interviewers and respondents within the survey context. We conclude the theoretical discussion with a seven phase model of the survey interaction process. In the final section of the paper, we offer some suggestions for systematizing the survey methodological literature.