Computer-assisted personal interviewing
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (February 2012)|
Computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) is an interviewing technique in which the respondent or interviewer uses a computer to answer the questions. It is similar to computer-assisted telephone interviewing, except that the interview takes place in person instead of over the telephone. This method is usually preferred over a telephone interview when the questionnaire is long and complex. It has been classified as a personal interviewing technique because an interviewer is usually present to serve as a host and to guide the respondent. If no interviewer is present, the term Computer-Assisted Self Interviewing (CASI) may be used. An example of a situation in which CAPI is used as the method of data collection is the British Crime Survey.
Characteristics of this interviewing technique are:
- Either the respondent or an interviewer sits at a computer terminal and answers a questionnaire using the keyboard or mouse.
- Help screens and courteous error messages are provided.
- Colorful screens and on and off-screen stimuli can add to the respondent's interest and involvement in the task.
- This approach is used in shopping malls, preceded by the intercept and screening process.
- It is also used to conduct business-to-business research at trade shows or conventions.
This form of interview is substantially cheaper when a large number of respondents is required, because:
- There is no need to recruit or pay interviewers. Respondents are able to fill in the questionnaires themselves (only true for CASI).
- There is no need to transcribe the results into a computer form. The computer program can be constructed so as to place the results directly in a format that can be read by statistical analysis programs such as PSPP or DAP.
- The program can be placed on a web site, potentially attracting a world-wide audience.
- The survey is likely to attract only respondents who are "computer savvy", thus introducing potential bias to the survey.
- The survey can miss feedback and clarification/quality control that a personal interviewer could provide. For example, a question that should be interpreted in a particular way, but could also be interpreted differently, can raise questions for respondents. If no interviewer is present, these questions will not be answered, potentially causing bias in the results of the questionnaire (only true for CASI).
Computer-Assisted Self Interviewing 
The big difference between a computer-assisted self interview (CASI) and a computer-assisted personal interview (CAPI) is that in the latter an interviewer is present, but not in the former. There are two kinds of computer-assisted self interviewing: a "video-CASI" and a "telephone-CASI". Video-CASI are often used to make a complex questionnaire more understandable for the person that is being interviewed. Telephone-CASI has the same advantage, but could also reduce problems that interviewees have with literacy. Furthermore, both types have a big advantage over computer-assisted personal interviewing, because subjects are more inclined to answer sensitive questions. The reason for this is that they feel that a CASI is more privative.