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20 April 2017


 April 20, 2017
Category BPO

Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI)

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 the questionnaire. Also, CAPI surveys are often defined face-to-face surveys.

CAPI technique could be assumed as the natural evolution of the traditional paper interview.


1. Main fields of the Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing – CAPI application

  1. Surveys in shopping centers: With Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing, surveys you can reach a heterogeneous and wide target. CAPI methodology allows you to interview respondents in an easy and rapid way without inserting beforehand respondent personal records.
  2. Exit-polls: CAPI methodology is the most used for this specific type of survey. You can still reach an extended target and you do not have to comply with restrictions based on age or education.
  3. High profile categories: when the target is a high-profile professional figure, completing the interview can be a difficult task because of their limited availability via telephone and web. This current issue can be overcome when the interviewer schedules an appointment and goes to the respondent to carry out the interview.
  4. Mystery shopping: CAPI surveys allow mystery client to collect information in a distinctive way completing the questionnaire directly on the smartphone as if he/she had been texting someone.

In front of the face-to-face mode, the interviewer and respondent are one: the CAPI surveys envisage that the data collector has to insert answers with the possibility to meet the respondents and illustrate possible concerns.

Starting with the case that a good interviewer can even profit the attention of the most difficult respondent, CAPI represents an additional support to the data collector. Being able to interview various types of people means getting a wider and more representative sample.



A typical CAPI interview

2. Advantages of Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing – CAPI methodology

  1. The most important benefit of CAPI methodology is the opportunity to interview everybody. Thus, also people who are not computer friendly or people who do not have time to answer to an online questionnaire. Thanks to its features, a CAPI survey guarantees a better quality of the collected data.
  2. Another considerable benefit provided by CAPI is the convenience of inserting data into the mobile device: in fact, data is sent automatically to the server so that it can be immediately available to export or to use for reports. You don´t need to insert data into the computer manually, avoiding misunderstandings or double answers. At the same time, you will reduce the time of data collection. Convenience, ease of use and interviewers’ presence on field allow to reach a wider and more various target.
  3. Data collection is incredibly important, not only speaking about CAPI methodology. However, several views come into play in the data collection process. The three most crucial views include the cost of the selected data collection method, the accuracy of data collected and the efficiency of data collection.

In spite of the popular rise of online and mobile surveys, CAPI face-to-face interviews are still a popular data collection method. A face-to-face interview method provides advantages over data collection methods. They include:

  1. Accurate screening: CAPI face-to-face interviews help with more accurate screening. The interviewee is unable to provide false information during screening questions such as gender or age.
  2. Capture verbal and non-verbal communication: A CAPI interview is going without any doubts to capture verbal and non-verbal communication, but this method also captures hidden non-verbal signs such as body language, which can indicate a level of discomfort in answering the questions.
  3. Keep focus: the interviewer controls the whole interview and can keep the interviewee focused.
  4. Capture emotions and behaviors: Face-to-face interviews can, for sure, capture an interviewee’s emotions and behaviours.


3. Disadvantages of CAPI methodology

CAPI interviews also have some disadvantages about data collection methods.

  1. Data quality: The quality of data you receive from a CAPI interview will often depend on the ability of the interviewer. Some people have the natural ability to conduct an interview and collect useful data.
  2. Manual data entry: if the interview is managed on paper, the data collected will have to be entered manually. Otherwise, a scan-able interview questionnaire is used. Data entry and scanning of paper questionnaires can significantly increase the cost of the project.
  3. Limit sample size: the sample size is strictly linked and limited to the size of your interviewing staff, the area chosen for the interviews and the number of certified respondents within it. It could be indispensable to conduct many interviews over multiple areas: the collected data will be more reliable but the costs will increase exponentially.


Are you interested in CAPI methodology? Thakur International is an international company which provides CAPI services.
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