You’ve probably been approached by someone at your home or at the mall who asked you a handful of questions saying they were gathering data for specific research reasons. They looked professional, had documentation to verify who they were and what they were doing and you answered their questions because they were nice about it and the questions weren’t about anything personal anyway.
The person quizzing you is a field interviewer. Retired and semi-retired people make great field interviewers and get to work on a variety of different projects earning a reasonable part-time wage while doing it. Field interviewers are not prying into your business, either. They are typically hired by companies who are gathering information for a variety of reasons.
For example, market research is the most common reason to have interviewers in the field asking a series of questions about a specific item. However, field interviewers also provide a valuable service when they are part of national studies related to any number of public services.
One agency that hires field interviewers is Westat Data Collection. They hire for a number of different positions of Field Data Collection where you are trained to be an in-person data collector working on specific projects which would require visits to individual homes, schools, businesses and offices. Once trained you could be a Field Interviewer conducting one-on-one interviews with selected respondents or you could be a Lister who gathers information by listing addresses of homes for household surveys or commercial buildings for larger market surveys. There’s also Assessors who conduct standardized tests or you could become a Medical Records Abstractor where medical record information specific to a study is gathered.
NORC Field Interviewers are probably the top of the heap when it comes to the social significance their surveys impact upon. They gather data to assist policy makers to make informed decisions for the benefit of you and me. Or in other words, you’re part of the vital link between government and the guy on the street.
What’s needed from you
There are a number of basic requirements in becoming a Field Interviewer. The most important is to be professional and friendly as you’ll be approaching a lot of strangers asking them sometimes personal questions. You’ll also have to be prepared to ask the questions exactly as they are provided and record responses verbatim which mean you’ll have to be pretty good at details. Plus, you should be completely impartial when asking the questions so as to not influence respondents.
Other requirements include proof of identity and ability to work in the United States, completion of a background check, have a valid driver’s license, proof of auto liability insurance, access to a reliable vehicle, a working home phone number, the ability to carry and use a laptop computer and various documents related to specific surveys and be able to attend in-person training sessions, which you get paid to attend.
Here’s where to find the jobs
Some of these research projects are short-term and others run for a longer period of time which depends entirely on the type of data being collected and for what purpose. Regardless, there is a lot of work available for anyone interested in becoming a Field Data Interviewer. Places to sign up for either part-time or full-time positions include:
Being a Field Data Interviewer is a great way to connect with people by doing something that may result in a significant change to policy or how a major corporation conducts business. If you are interested in finding a part-time or full-time job with substance that can keep you as an active member of society, this could be it!