A field interviewer is an individual who conducts surveys and research, typically for organizations or businesses. This person might meet with a series of different people in a day to ask them specific questions in order to collect data surrounding a specific topic. There are many different reasons a company or organization might want to conduct research using a field interviewer; market research is a common reason, for example. In some cases, the interviewer might have a hand in preparing the survey questions and developing the research plan, but in most cases when a company hires someone to do field interviews, the questions are already developed.
There are certain skills that a field interviewer needs to possess in order to be successful at this job, and not to skew the results one way or the other. Initially, it will be necessary to have a professional, friendly demeanor in order to put survey respondents at ease, whether they are already aware they will be interviewed, or if it is a spontaneous question-and-answer session. In addition, it is important not to give the perception that one answer is preferred over another, as this can affect the results of the survey. Field interviewers must seem completely impartial when asking questions and recording answers.
It is important for a field interviewer to be able to ask the questions exactly as prepared, and to record the answers verbatim. Again, paraphrasing could change the intention or the meaning behind the answer and affect the data. Some field interviewers have technology that they may use to record answers, but others simply take notes with a pen and paper. Accuracy is of the utmost importance when working as a field interviewer, as many field data collectors will also be responsible for preparing reports summarizing their results to submit to their superiors.
A field interviewer with more responsibility, or who was part of the initial design of a research project, may have a bit more control over the questions he or she is asking, and the information that is being collected. This type of job may require more analysis of the data than a basic field interviewer position. The basic requirements for each of these jobs can vary significantly based on the type and purpose of the survey, but in any case it is important for a person in this position to be a responsible, self-motivated individual who is able to work with minimal supervision.