Review of Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) Procedures in Overseas Statistical Agencies
Views expressed in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Statistical Clearing House. Where quoted or used, they should be attributed clearly to the author.
Farrell, Emma (2000) Review of Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) Procedures in Overseas Statistical Agencies, Forms Consultancy Group, Statistical Services Branch, Methodology Division of Australian Bureau of Statistics.
This paper endeavours to set out important aspects of computer assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) data collection procedures, drawing from statistical agencies around the world. The emphasis is on business surveys but most of the process also applies to household surveys. Some of the research is actually from studies of computer assisted personal interviewing (CAPI), where the issues are generally about the addition of computers to the interviewing process and therefore also relevant to CATI data collection. The paper does not explore in detail the advantages and disadvantages of using a CATI system, but examines how to go about developing and using a CATI system effectively.
The first section deals with the process of data collection itself, focusing on the Current Employment Survey as an example of an effective CATI survey. The section describes the specific procedures used, the impact of CATI on response rates and data quality, and the way the organisation is run to incorporate CATI. The second section focuses on the CATI instrument, describing some basic questionnaire design issues, desirable system functions, the importance of automatic scheduling and the length of the interview. The final section explores issues related to the people involved in the data collection process, the training of interviewers, the changing responsibilities of supervisors, getting feedback from interviewers, and monitoring interviewers and respondents. Developing a CATI survey is not just a simple process of sticking the paper questionnaire onto a computer. Using that computer as the data collection instrument affects the entire survey cycle.