Computer assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) is a quantitative research approach which utilizes a trained interviewer to conduct a scripted interview (read directly from a computer screen) with a subject over the phone. The interviewer immediately records the participant’s responses electronically in to a computer program via coded options. The benefits of CATI are seemingly paradoxical: it allows for a customizable survey process with an unlimited number of people, yet it is less time-intensive than other data collection methods. CATI accomplishes this by using a variety of features in strategic ways. When evaluating how computer assisted telephone interviews might help your business, consider the following:
- CATI provides a way to clarify questionnaire wording, thus eliminating the chance of having a respondent provide irrelevant information because he or she misunderstands the question. While they can not deviate from asking the questions on the screen, CATI interviewers are allowed to address any respondent queries, as well as verify responses. A personalized point of contact helps ensure that data is recorded as meant, not merely as stated.
- CATI gives you the opportunity to route your respondents through a customizable experience with questions that follow a programmable logic of “applicable” and “inapplicable” when warranted. This means that respondents are kept engaged by only the questions that pertain to their unique experience.
- CATI delivers high quality control by following a precise script and using computer-generated parameters to check for accuracy amongst responses. Because interviewers use coded selections that correspond to respondent answers, data is uniform, with no margin for extraneous interpretation.
- CATI expedites data collection and reporting. Providing coded, electronic entries in real-time allows businesses to skip manual data assimilation and entry only after data collection, as it has been done so often in the past. Combining the two steps generates results that are available instantaneously.
- CATI offers anonymity when dealing with sensitive issues or participants who might be influenced by more personal interactions. It’s a lot easier to get honest answers from people when they feel safe from face-to-face scrutiny.
- CATI is almost universally available to the general public. Who doesn’t own a phone?! Your business can reach an unlimited number of people using computer assisted telephone technologies.
There are many advantages to using computer assisted telephone interviews as part of your business’s market research, but those advantages depend on multiple factors. Contact us at Communications for Research (CFR) to see if CATI is right for you!