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I receive a request to fill out a survey about interpreting almost every month (some MA, some doctoral theses) and while I'd like to help researchers out the requests very rarely include any explanation of what will happen to the data I might submit or how confidentiality will be guaranteed. (Language combination and professional address are enough to identify most interpreters. In my case language combination alone would suffice.) Consequently I very rarely reply to surveys.

Could the academics here explain (for the benefit of potential surveyors) what explanations about methodology, ethical considerations and confidentiality (and anything else) should be given up front in order to reassure interpreters (including the academics amongst them) that a survey is sound?

And could the other interpreters give any clues as to why they don't reply to surveys (responses rates are often very very low for interpreting surveys)

asked 18 Aug '13, 13:15

Andy's gravatar image


retagged 18 Aug '13, 14:37

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦

Research is important for the profession and I do participate in scientific surveys. I agree with Gaspar.

I answer if I receive the following information:

  • Purpose of the survey
  • University, ethics board
  • Name of the professor who directs the survey
  • How will the respondents be informed about the results of the study
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answered 11 Sep '13, 06:28

Angela's gravatar image


edited 11 Sep '13, 06:30

I agree with Angela's suggestions and would like to add several:

  1. Tell participants at the outset of data collection the name(s) of the person(s) who will have access to the data and who will protect the privacy of participants.

  2. Use a system where names are substituted by numbers so that it is more difficult to link data to specific individuals. And tell the participants about this practice.

  3. Pilot the instrument (i.e., the questionnaire) and ask good questions. And tell the participants that you have done so. There have been quite a few times when I stopped completing a questionnaire because the questions did not suit the research questions.

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answered 16 Sep '13, 02:58

Liu%20Minhua's gravatar image

Liu Minhua

edited 16 Sep '13, 04:18

Angela's gravatar image


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answered 13 Feb '14, 02:59

Andy's gravatar image


(I'm just back from an AIIC seminar on Interpreting Research and) this book comes highly recommended by a very serious researcher (not me) for anyone thinking of doing a study, research etc. Read this first!

Research Methods in Interpreting

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answered 01 Feb '16, 12:41

Andy's gravatar image


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question asked: 18 Aug '13, 13:15

question was seen: 5,106 times

last updated: 01 Feb '16, 12:41

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