Increasing the value of computer interviewing

Date of publication: June 15, 1991

Author: Julian R. Bond

Abstract:

This paper looks at the growth of computer interviewing over recent years. It discusses our experience with respect to computer interviews and looks at where it has proved successful and where problems have arisen. The paper concentrates on the use of computers for face to face interviewing and does not discuss in any detail the more popular use of computers for telephone interviewing (CATI). The first section of the paper deals with some of the more practical issues involved in computer interviewing such as the implications for research costs, timing and training of interviewers. It will also look at how computer interviewing can be usefully used for multi-national surveys. The second section of the paper is concerned with more sophisticated uses of computer interviewing, where advantages to the user come not from consideration of costs etc. but the ability to conduct types of interview that would not be possible using traditional pencil and paper methodologies. Throughout the paper reference is made to a variety of software that we have used in the course of our work on computer interviewing. The paper is in no way an attempt to evaluate these different programs scientifically but rather reports on our experience with them to date.

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