CAPI stands for Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing.
CAPI methodology is an interviewing technique where the respondent or the interviewer uses a computer or a mobile device to answer an (often) offline survey.
It’s similar to CAWI methodology but it differs from it for the actual presence of the interviewer. Because of that, CAPI surveys are often defined as Face-to-Face surveys.
CAPI surveys is the natural evolution of the traditional paper interview (PAPI). A 2.0 interviewing that can remarkably facilitate all different interviewing phases still preserving important and peculiar feature of the old technique. The interviewer’s presence on the field helps the interviewee to fill in the questionnaire.
Main fields of application of CAPI methodology
Let’s see now when choosing the CAPI methodology rather than other techniques is a winning move, if not the only move.
- Surveys in shopping centers: you can reach a heterogeneous target. You can collect responses easily and rapidly;
- Exit-poll: CAPI methodology is the most used for this specific type of survey. You can still reach an extended target, and you don’t have to comply with restrictions based on age or education, for example;
- High profile categories: when the target is high profile professional figure (like MDs), completing the interview can be a difficult task because of their limited availability. This issue is solved when the interviewer schedules an appointment and goes to the respondent to interview them;
- Mystery shopping: CAPI surveys allow mystery clients to collect information completing the questionnaire on their smartphone as if they are be texting someone. They can access the offline survey to collect their first impressions on the service or product they need to evaluate.
Not all Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing platform is the same
Several CAPI survey software were specifically created to administer CAPI surveys.
But, a lot of software is not able to carry on data collection in offline mode.
Working with no internet connection is an advantage for your data collection.
Besides this, another feature that distinguishes advanced solutions is compatibility with the most used devices. In fact, until a few years back, research institutes had to invest resources in providing laptops or tablets to each agent to complete interviews.
Nowadays best software products are completely compatible with most-used smartphones, tablets, and operative systems: companies can save money by interviewers directly downloading the app on their devices.
IdSurvey is here to fulfill your requests. Ease of use of the CAPI app for each level of interviewer (thanks to its high user-friendliness) with no need for training, resulting in savings for the company. IdSurvey allows carrying on single surveys with multiple methodologies or mixed-mode.
Offline and online CAPI survey
Before you purchase your CAPI survey software, it’s important to understand this difference. An internet connection may not always be available when you work in the field. For this reason, it’s crucial to choose a CAPI survey software that can work in offline mode too.
This app is called CAPI offline and lets you collect data with no internet connection. It’s possible to collect as much survey data as you want and then synchronize them with the main server when you have a data or WiFi connection.
Apps that don’t support offline mode cause issues for CAPI methodology. Sometimes they’re erroneously called CAPI online and they’re not useful for this methodology. Quite often they’re developed using existing material from CATI or CAWI interface: the investment of the software firm is minimal, but the result is useless. It’s important not to fall into the trap and be sure that the software you’re purchasing supports real CAPI – that is to say – an offline app.
Anonymous CAPI distribution
Anonymous distribution is when you administer the face-to-face interview to random people, like supermarket or store shoppers, voters at polling stations, visitors in a museum or trade show, or passersby in the street.
At the beginning (or end) of the interview, you usually request some personal data such as the name, surname, and telephone number. This procedure is useful to create a list of respondents for other surveys or for market research actions.
Distribution to an existing list of respondents
This distribution mode makes the CAPI methodology similar to the web surveys except that the respondent answer the questionnaire face-to-face and without a connection.
The interviewer has to select the contact from the list before starting the interview with the CAPI system.
CAPI surveys main features
During this field research, the interviewer and respondent are one in front of the other (face-to-face mode): the data collector has to insert answers confronting the respondent and clarifying possible concerns.
Also, CAPI can represent additional support to data collectors: being able to interview various types of people means getting a bigger and more representative sample.
Benefits of Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing
The most important benefit is the opportunity to interview everybody. A CAPI survey guarantees a better quality of collected data.
Another considerable benefit is convenience. Data inserted into the mobile device are sent automatically to the server so that they can be immediately available to export or to use for reports.
Convenience, ease of use, and the interviewer’s presence on the field permit us to reach a wider target and be heterogeneous.
Thanks to the most advanced software, like IdSurvey, recording GPS coordinates or the interview’s audio allows better but essential control of interviewers work.
Lastly, in mystery shopping surveys, mystery clients can shoot a photo and insert it in the questionnaire.
Research and results
A lot of researchers tried to understand what is the best methodology for interviews. Results suggest that computer-assisted methodologies tend to enhance the quality of data.
To sum up, by using the CAPI methodology you avoid errors in the questionnaire compiling. In fact, you can engage individuals that may be difficult to interview. Being that, you’re able to obtain a more representative sample compared to other methodologies.
The question is: is this methodology suitable for the survey you’re designing?