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Advantages and disadvantages of data collection methods

by | Jan 22, 2021 | Research world

Web revolution has drastically changed market research increases the number of options compared to previous methodologies.

Technology has caused several (and significant) modifications to survey techniques. In this post, we analyze the advantages and disadvantages of data collection methods.

CATI – Phone surveys

CATI methodology (Computer Assisted Telephone Interview) improved the telephone interviewing process. A software automatically supports and leads the interviewer during data collection. Thus, they see questions on the screen followed by possible answers.

For this reason, it has several advantages:

  1. high quality of collected data: you avoid any interviewer misinterpretation or incorrect question administering;
  2. time reduction: automatic callback managed by the system. The interviewer can also directly insert the data with no use of paper;
  3. more accuracy: being completely automated, there’s no room for mistakes or unclear compiling;
  4. complete control on interviews progress: you can check in real-time completed, incomplete, and dropped interviews.

CAWI – Online surveys

We said that the web revolution has been crucial to market research evolution. This is particularly true for the CAWI methodology (Computer Assisted Web Interviewing).

Back in the days, with online surveys, you could reach just around 20% of the population. So it had limited purposes.

Today, you reach a wide and generic population (an entire country, a multinational corporation…). A link is sent to the respondents via email. They just follow the link to complete the questionnaire.

The main characteristics of the CAWI method are:

1. the software autonomously send the emails and takes care of their following classification. Finished questionnaires are marked as complete.

2. the respondent receives an invitation via email and clicks on the link to answer the questionnaire.

You need to have all the email addresses of your respondents to carry on a CAWI survey.

CAPI – Offline personal surveys

CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interview) method is the tech evolution of Face to Face research. An interviewer collects the data in a face to face meeting with the respondent.

Using a mobile device or PC even offline, the interviewer carries on the interview and send back the answers in real-time. Data are immediately sent to the main server.

The face-to-face interview is often part of the Mystery Client research. Mystery clients can discreetly complete their tasks on their smartphone or mobile device.

Observations on CATI CAWI CAPI Surveys

To sum up, we compared CATI CAWI CAPI Surveys. And each one of them represented a step forward for market research.

Now it’s time for some observations on the actual effectiveness of these data collection methods.

CAWI methodology has several advantages but requires all respondents to have an email account and a basic knowledge of computers to correctly complete the questionnaire.

CAPI methodology’s biggest quality is the real face to face interaction between respondent and interviewer. In contrast, the average number of completed interviews in a working day is usually lower than CATI.

CATI methodology guarantees the benefits of the other two techniques above. Specifically, a heterogeneous target and the call agent that can help the respondent during the interview. But CATI is still the most expensive method because of higher costs linked to the call center, the interviewers, and phone traffic.

Advantages and disadvantages of data collection: the winner is…

To resume, no methodology can be considered better than the others. Every company has to carefully evaluate its goals. Then, after a careful analysis, you will be able to pick and use the best method to reach your goal. 

Using a software that can manage CATI CAWI CAPI Surveys like IdSurvey will always give you the best of each one.

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