New research possibilities by computerised personal interviewing

Date of publication: September 1, 1988

Company: NIPO


From telephone interviewing and then computer assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) the last few years have brought along two new systems of datacollection by means of personal interviews. One is the Telepanel-system, which consists of a random sample of 1.000 households, of which the members answer questions that appear on their television set. The latter is connected to a home-computer they were supplied with by the research institute. By means of a modem and very userfriendly software the questionnaires are transmitted from the central computer to their home-computer and after the responses have been typed in, the data of the different members that were requested to respond in that particular weekend are transmitted back to the central computer. The data can then be processed immediately. The other development is CAPI, computer assisted personal interviewing in cross-sectional research. A group of specially trained interviewers visit homes or business addresses with portable personal computers. Questionnaires appear on the LCD-screen and the respondents themselves punch in the replies. In this paper we will focuss on extra advantages these methods have over existing procedures such as CATI and face-to- face interviews with paper and pencil. The first is obviously that the number of different response possibilities is more limited when using a telephone, the respondent will comprehend the question better if it can be read instead of heard and the third and in our opinion more decisive advantage is the reduction of the influence of the interviewer. The effects of these advantages will be shown to be of great value in: - getting more information concerning sensitive topics. - getting more and more valid information on difficult research topics. - getting more reliable data - enabling collection and analysis of non-sensitive data that write-in panels cannot produce.

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