Whether for use by government agencies, private business, educational institutions, or other organizations, interview data gathered by means of CAPI software is more likely to be of high quality and form a solid basis for important evaluations, planning, and decision-making.
Given the high cost of rigorous data cleansing operations and the higher cost of making poor decisions based on faulty, misleading, or inconsistent data, it’s well worthwhile to ensure high quality for survey-sourced data to begin with, rather than having to correct it later on.
CAPI (computer assisted personal interviewing) has many advantages over other collection methods, especially when top-tier CAPI software systems are used.
Here are 5 of its most obvious benefits that can potentially affect data quality:
1. No Transcription Process Needed
When CAPI software is used during an interview, information is entered directly into a mobile or other computer device without any need to later transcribe. It is entered in a format that can immediately be transferred to other integrated systems and read by statistical analysis programs like DAP and PSPP.
There is room for numerous errors while transferring data from paper to computer. Some even occur during surveys written down in the old pen and clipboard method. CAPI eliminates that major source of errors.
2. Software Simplicity Ups Data Quality
Another problem with data quality can occur when interviewers and managers are not IT experts and the software they use is too complex. Technical difficulties could result in erroneous data entry/placement or in problems in moving data between different types of devices or converting it to different formats.
Plus, if you are using a pre-set form instead of customizing your own form, you may be collecting irrelevant data. Relevance is a key parameter in measuring data quality.
Modern CAPI software allows you to customize your own forms without having to be a computer programmer. It also makes data entry and transfer fast and simple and much less likely to cause a glitch.
3. A Personal Interview Help Lessen Data Skewing
It is possible to use CAPI-like software systems to collect survey data on your website or in a “CASI” (computer assisted self-interview) format. Occasionally, as when you are asking for very “sensitive” information like data on alcoholism, CASI surveys might actually tend to yield more accurate results.
However, in most situations, CAPI interviews do a better job in preventing data skewing. First, online and CASI interviews might tend to involve only the more computer savvy in the survey, which introduces an element of survey “bias.” Second, a personal interviewer’s presence helps to avert data being based on misinterpretations of questions since the interviewer is there to help clarify matters.
4. CAPI’s Cost-effectiveness Means Greater Volume
When your survey data can be larger in volume, that gives you greater confidence in the trends, insights, and statistics you base on that data. Conducting an interview costs money. So anything that is cheaper and gathers data of the same quality enables you to boost volume without boosting costs.
CAPI software does just that. Much of it is hosted in the Cloud. You have no set-up costs, server expenses, or IT bill associated with it. Some CAPI systems are pay as you go, so you only pay for the software based on actual usage, keeping you firmly in control of budgeting. The greater efficiency this software gives to interviewers means they can be significantly more productive than with other personal interviewing methods.
5. CAPI Interviews Can Be Monitored for Quality
One cutting edge trend is the ability to remotely monitor CAPI interviews and interviewers. In the past, you would have had to have a manager accompany an interviewer to evaluate him/her or have someone re-interview a subject to see if the same data was collected the second time around by the evaluator.
Now, there is software that monitors interviewers and facilitates their evaluation and training needs. If a question results in an improper response, it is detected and managers are alerted so they can follow up and find the root cause.
Thus, top-of-market CAPI software and well trained CAPI interviewers enable you to collect useful data faster and cheaper. You can then base all conclusions on precisely gathered information. That means higher quality, greater quantity, and lower costs.