Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-78dcdb465f-cs4hf Total loading time: 0.304 Render date: 2021-04-19T13:26:01.547Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }

Does Interviewer Religious Dress Affect Survey Responses? Evidence from Morocco

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 July 2014

Lindsay J. Benstead
Portland State University
E-mail address:


Few studies examine religiosity-of-interviewer effects, despite recent expansion of surveying in the Muslim world. Using data from a nationally-representative survey of 800 Moroccans conducted in 2007, this study investigates whether and why interviewer religiosity and gender affect responses to religiously-sensitive questions. Interviewer dress affects responses to four of six items, but effects are larger and more consistent for religious respondents, in support of power relations theory. Religious Moroccans provide less pious responses to secular-appearing interviewers, whom they may link to the secular state, and more religious answers to interviewers wearing hijab, in order to safeguard their reputation in a society that values piety. Interviewer traits do not affect the probability of item-missing data. Religiosity-of-interviewer effects depend on interviewer gender for questions about dress choice, a gendered issue closely related to interviewer dress. Interviewer gender and dress should be coded and controlled for to reduce bias and better understand social dynamics.

Copyright © Religion and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association 2014 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.


Ahmed, Leila. 2011. A Quiet Revolution: The Veil's Resurgence, from the Middle East to America. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Ahmed, Leila. 1992. Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Albrecht, Holger, and Wegner, Eva. 2006. “Autocrats and Islamists: Contenders and Containment in Egypt and Morocco.” Journal of North African Studies 11: 123141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). 2011. “Standard Definitions: Final Dispositions of Case Codes and Outcome Rates for Surveys.” (Accessed on April 14, 2014).Google Scholar
Anderson, Barbara A., Silver, Brian D., and Abramson, Paul R.. 1988. “The Effects of the Race of the Interviewer on Race-Related Attitudes of Black Respondents in SRC/CPS National Election Studies.” The Public Opinion Quarterly 52: 289324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Benstead, Lindsay J. 2013a. “Plus or Minus 25 Percent: Interviewer Bias and Polling in Transitional Tunisia.” Presented at the Interviewer-Respondent Interaction Workshop, Boston.Google Scholar
Benstead, Lindsay J. 2013b. “Effects of Interviewer-Respondent Gender Interaction on Attitudes toward Women and Politics: Findings from Morocco.” International Journal of Public Opinion Research. (Accessed on April 14, 2014).Google Scholar
Benstead, Lindsay J. 2014. “Effects of Interviewer Religious Dress and Gender on Reported Attitudes Toward Shari'a Law.” Portland State University. Typescript.Google Scholar
Benstead, Lindsay J., Lust, Ellen, and Malouche, Dhafer. 2012. “Tunisians Frustrated But Engaged.” (Accessed on June 1, 2014).Google Scholar
Berinsky, Adam J. 1999. “The Two Faces of Public Opinion.” American Journal of Political Science 43: 12091230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Blaydes, Lisa, and Gillum, Rachel M.. 2013. “Religiosity-of-Interviewer Effects: Assessing the Impact of Veiled Enumerators on Survey Response in Egypt.” Politics and Religion 6: 459482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Blaydes, Lisa, and Linzer, Drew A.. 2008. “The Political Economy of Women's Support for Fundamentalist Islam.” World Politics 60: 576609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Buehler, Matt. 2013. “Safety-Valve Elections and the Arab Spring: The Weakening (and Resurgence) of Morocco's Islamist Opposition Party.” Terrorism and Political Violence 25: 137156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Charrad, Mounira M. 2011. “Gender in the Middle East: Islam, State, Agency.” Annual Review of Sociology 37: 417437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
CIA World Factbook. 2014. “Morocco.” (Accessed on April 14, 2014).Google Scholar
Ciftci, Sabri. 2010. “Modernization, Islam, or Social Capital: What Explains Attitudes toward Democracy in the Muslim World?Comparative Political Studies 43: 14421470.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
“Constitution of Morocco”, 1996. (Accessed on April 14, 2014).Google Scholar
DeMaio, Teresa J. 1984. “Social Desirability and Survey Measurement: A Review.” In Surveying Subjective Phenomena, eds. Turner, Charles F., and Martin, Elizabeth. New York, NY: Russell Sage, Vol. 2, 257281.Google Scholar
Dionne, Kim Yi. 2014. “The Politics of Local Research Production: A Case Study of Ethnic Competition.” Smith College. Typescript.Google Scholar
Ehrlich, June Sachar, and Riesman, David. 1961. “Age and Authority in the Interview.” Public Opinion Quarterly 25: 3956.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
El Guindi, Fadwa. 1999. Veil Modesty, Privacy, and Resistance. New York, NY: Berg Fashion Library.Google Scholar
Ennaji, Moha. 2010. Multilingualism, Cultural Identity, and Education in Morocco. New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
Esposito, John L., and Mogahed, Dalia. 2007. Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think. New York, NY: Gallup Press.Google Scholar
Essers, Caroline, and Benschop, Yvonne. 2007. “Enterprising Identities: Female Entrepreneurs of Moroccan or Turkish Origin in the Netherlands.” Organization Studies 28: 4969.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fadir, Nadia. 2009. “My Journey with the Hijab (Headscarf).” The Pathfinder: A Journal of Peace and Conflict Studies 1: 8384.Google Scholar
Fellegi, I. P. 1964. “Response Variance and Its Estimation.” Journal of the American Statistical Association 59: 10161041.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Flores-Macias, Francisco, and Lawson, Chappell. 2008. “Effects of Interviewer Gender on Survey Responses: Findings from a Household Survey in Mexico.” International Journal of Public Opinion Research 20: 100110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gmel, Gerhard, and Heeb, Jean-Luc. 2001. “Interviewers' and Respondents' Effects on Self-Reported Alcohol Consumption in a Swiss Health Survey.” Journal of Studies on Alcohol 62: 434442.Google Scholar
Greene, Richard Allen. 2014. “No Burqa Required: Muslim World Weighs in on Women's Dress.” (Accessed on April 14, 2014).Google Scholar
Hamilton, Richard. 2006. “Morocco Moves to Drop the Headscarf.” (Accessed on April 14, 2014).Google Scholar
Hessini, Leila. 1994. “Wearing the Hijab in Contemporary Morocco: Choice and Identity.” In Reconstructing Gender in the Middle East: Tradition, Identity, and Power, eds. Göçek, Fatma Müge, and Balaghi, Shiva. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 4056.Google Scholar
Heyat, Farideh. 2008. “New Veiling in Azerbaijan: Gender and Globalized Islam.” European Journal of Women's Studies 15: 361376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Huddy, Leonie, Billig, Joshua, Bracciodieta, John, Hoeffler, Lois, Moynihan, Patrick J., and Pugliani, Patricia. 1997. “The Effect of Interviewer Gender on the Survey Response.” Political Behavior 19: 197220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jamal, Amaney A. 2006. “Reassessing Support for Islam and Democracy in the Arab World? Evidence from Egypt and Jordan.” World Affairs 169: 5164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kane, Emily W., and Macaulay, Laura J.. 1993. “Interviewer Gender and Gender Attitudes.” Public Opinion Quarterly 57: 128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Katz, Daniel. 1942. “Do Interviewers Bias Poll Results?Public Opinion Quarterly 6: 248268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Keddie, Nikki R. 2007. Women in the Middle East: Past and Present. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Koker, Tolga. 2009. “Choice under Pressure: A Dual Preference Model and Its Application.” Economics Department Working Paper No. 60. New Haven, CT: Yale University. March. (Accessed on April 14, 2014).Google Scholar
Lord, Vivian, Friday, Paul, and Brennan, Pauline K.. 2005. “The Effects of Interviewer Characteristics on Arrestees' Responses to Drug-Related Questions.” Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice 1: 3655.Google Scholar
Lyons, Terrence, and Mandaville, Peter G., eds. 2012. Politics from Afar. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
Maddy-Weitzman, Bruce. 2005. “Women, Islam, and the Moroccan State: The Struggle over the Personal Status Law.” Middle East Journal 59: 393410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mahmood, Saba. 2005. Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Mernissi, Fatima. 1991. The Veil and the Male Elite: A Feminist Interpretation of Women's Rights in Islam. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
Norris, Pippa, and Inglehart, Ronald. 2001. “Cultural Obstacles to Equal Representation.” Journal of Democracy 12: 126140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schaeffer, Nora Cate. 1980. “Evaluating Race-of-Interviewer Effects in a National Survey.” Sociological Methods & Research 8: 400419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schuman, Howard, and Converse, Jean M.. 1971. “The Effects of Black and White Interviewers on Black Responses in 1968.” Public Opinion Quarterly 35: 4468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sudman, Seymour, and Bradburn, Norman M.. 1974. Response Effects in Surveys: A Review and Synthesis. Chicago, IL: Aldine.Google Scholar
StataCorp. 2009. Stata Statistical Software: Release 11. College Station, TX: StataCorp LP.Google Scholar
Tajfel, Henri, Billig, M. G., Bundy, R. P., and Flament, Claude. 1971. “Social Categorization and Intergroup Behaviour.” European Journal of Social Psychology 1: 149178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tessler, Mark. 2002. “Islam and Democracy in the Middle East: The Impact of Religious Orientations on Attitudes toward Democracy in Four Arab Countries.” Comparative Politics 34: 337354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
“Tunisian Constituent Assembly Election”, 2011.,_2011 (Accessed on April 14, 2014).Google Scholar
Turner, John C. 1982. “Towards a Cognitive Redefinition of the Social Group.” In Social Identity and Intergroup Relations, ed. Tajfel, Henri. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1540.Google Scholar
Webster, Cynthia. 1996. “Hispanic and Anglo Interviewer and Respondent Ethnicity and Gender: The Impact on Survey Response Quality.” Journal of Marketing Research 33: 6272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wegner, Eva. 2011. Islamist Opposition in Authoritarian Regimes: The Party of Justice and Development in Morocco. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.Google Scholar
Williams, J. Allen. 1964. “Interviewer-Respondent Interaction: A Study of Bias in the Information Interview.” Sociometry 27: 338352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 21
Total number of PDF views: 141 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 19th April 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Does Interviewer Religious Dress Affect Survey Responses? Evidence from Morocco
Available formats

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Does Interviewer Religious Dress Affect Survey Responses? Evidence from Morocco
Available formats

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Does Interviewer Religious Dress Affect Survey Responses? Evidence from Morocco
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *