Predicting informant accuracy from patterns of recall among individuals

A. Kimball Romney, Susan C. Weller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


This paper examines the question of informant accuracy in reporting patterns of communication in face-to-face groups. We are attempting to establish the extent to which it is possible to predict individual differences in accuracy from the patterns of recall among informants. We use data from a series of studies by Bernard, Killworth, and Sailer (Killworth and Bernard 1976, 1979;Bernard and Killworth 1977;Bernard et al. 1980, 1982) in which they collected observed behavior interaction frequencies and subsequently asked informants to recall and rate the degree of previous communication. In this paper we attempt to predict the accuracy of recall, i.e. how well each individual's ranking corresponds to the overall observed interactions for the group as a whole, by looking solely at the recall ranking. Using this method, we are able to account for a major share of the variance in accuracy among the subjects. We outline a theory and method for predicting accuracy based upon recall data that may be generalized to a variety of situations beyond social interaction data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-77
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Networks
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences
  • General Psychology


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