CATI

For all our telephone surveys, interviewing is conducted using a CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) system in conjunction with our partner who represents the state-of the-art data collection facility. We have put in place one of the most advanced computer assisted interviewing systems available.

Prior to the commencement of each new project, all interviewers are also thoroughly briefed by the Supervisor, Operations Manager and/or the Research Consultant.

This briefing session includes a background to the project, detailed question-by-question explanation and the opportunity for interviewers to work on a test version of the questionnaire prior to conducting any interviews.

We have a pool of CATI- equipped interviewing stations giving tremendous capacity and the ability to complete surveys under extremely tight timelines. The CATI system also allows our supervisors to directly and unobtrusively monitor interviews in progress, again avoiding potential time frame errors. Using CATI technology, interview questions are stored in computer memory, recalled in programmable sequences, and displayed for each interviewer on a video display terminal. Interviewers enter answers received by telephone directly into computer memory by means of individual keyboards.

CATI has a number of advantages:

  • Standardized sampling and call-back procedures can be programmed in the system to insure uniformity of practice and more efficient calling routines.
  • Interview questions can be automatically modified to insert information already obtained and to phrase questions appropriately by such personal characteristics as gender and marital status.
  • Computer-controlled skip patterns permit far more complex interviews than are possible with paper and pencil forms. Questions can be designed to vary according to answers given earlier in the interview or even according to random numbers. Complex experiments can be integrated into the survey.
  • In-process data cleaning is a standard benefit, since many potential interviewer errors, such as missed questions or inappropriate skips, are virtually eliminated. Also, apparent discrepancies between responses may be automatically identified for probing during the course of the interview.
  • Tabulations and data files are available sooner because data entry and most manual editing and data cleaning steps are eliminated. For more complex studies, this may save weeks between the completion of interviewing and the beginning of analysis.
  • Automatic timing of alternate question wordings and sequences can aid in the design of interviews that are less burdensome to respondents and more efficient for researchers. CATI provides important advantages in survey design and implementation. This extensive experience with CATI studies allows us to help clients use the methodology to its full potential.
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