Skynet and Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI)

Someone I know was listening to talk back last week (the morning the IPSOS poll was released). She said there were claims that IPSOS used Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing in their latest poll!

I don’t work at IPSOS – but I’m fairly sure these claims are accurate. What’s inaccurate, however, is that respondents were interviewed by Skynet, c3PO, HAL2000, Orac, Cylons, or any other type of computer.

Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) is when you are called by a real person, and that person is assisted by a computer. The computer dials the number, displays the interviewer’s script, and collects the data. There are a number of advantages to this. For example, there’s no data entry needed after fieldwork is completed, auditors can check calls to make sure interviewers are recording responses correctly, we can get an instant overview of sampling success rates, interviewer refusal rates, and interviews per hour per interviewer, and we can see the results instantly as they roll in.

It’s actually kinda fun.

There are other similar acronyms used by the industry, for example:

WAPI – Web assisted personal interviews

PAPI – Paper assisted personal interviews

CAPI – Computer assisted personal interviews



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