The three-step test interview (TSTI) is a recently developed observation-based procedure for the identification of response problems in self-administered survey questionnaires. The TSTI was applied in field test interviews to a quantity-frequency-variability questionnaire on alcohol consumption. For an assessment of its productivity the results are compared to a previously performed expert review. Most response problems that were identified in the expert review were confirmed in the field test interviews. Additionally, the TSTI identified many unexpected problems, mostly stemming from unanticipated “deviant” drinking patterns and from local normative connotations attached to drinking alcohol. From these findings we conclude that the TSTI is a powerful test tool with a high ecological validity.

Data quality, cognitive methods, ecological validity, focused interview, observation, pretesting, think aloud
ERIM Article Series (EAS)
Journal of Official Statistics: an international quarterly
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Jansen, H.A.M, & Hak, A. (2005). The Productivity of the Three-Step Test-Interview (TSTI) Compared to an Expert Review of a Self-administered Questionnaire on Alcohol Consumption. Journal of Official Statistics: an international quarterly, 21(1), 103–120. Retrieved from