Run Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing Surveys on Tablets with CAPI Software
Conducting CAPI surveys on tablets, laptops and PDA’s is not easy. There are many challenges to overcome ranging from logistics – such as managing field workers - all the way to technical and hardware challenges like battery power for laptops and choosing device form factors. In this article we will not cover the logistics challenges but will try to focus more on the surveying software (and specifically the offline survey software), device form factor challenges and solutions available today for the market research agency that performs CAPI surveys. As the technology world around us changes all the time and keeps on producing more effective solutions, it is important for the market research agency to stay current with the available solutions as these are getting better each day
The Challenges of computer assisted personal interviewing
The face to face surveying world is very different than any of the other types of surveys like online and phone surveys. The demands from the surveying software are totally different and the base assumptions differ too. Below are some of the challenges that are present in the CAPI methodology.
Computer assisted personal interviewing surveys tend to be pretty long, with the average being ~30 pages of MS Word worth of questions. In addition, they tend to have lots of logic & rules. This combination makes for a huge challenge for the software solution vendor to create a very robust solution that will be enable the market research firm to easily program the survey with all of its rules and still make the end result lightweight enough to be able to deploy it to mobile devices such as PDA’s, laptops, netbooks, tablets and laptops. While online web surveys solutions vendors might get away with a more simplistic support for simple rules and logic branches, the CAPI world is totally different. SurveyToGo is one of the very few solutions out there that has managed to solve this huge challenge and provide a true productive surveying software that can handle the complicated logic demands of CAPI surveys.
CAPI data collection and field surveys are performed in the field. As such, the places surveyors go to in order to conduct the surveys range from comfortable office locations through busy train stations and malls all the way to isolated villages in South Africa. It is a fact of life that internet connectivity, or any connectivity for that matter is intermitted at best and usually simply not available. The challenge on software vendors here is to provide a surveying solution that will permit semi-offline or completely offline working modes. A surveyor should be able to go out for a month or more, conduct all the surveys in offline or semi offline mode and synchronize the results back either daily, weekly or on a monthly basis. Many CATI and CAWI solutions simply can’t offer this super-important ability. SurveyToGo is one of the very few solutions out there that supports completely offline or semi offline working modes.
With CAPI surveys, your surveyors are always out there.. they are never conducting the surveys from your office. It is there for very important that you will be able to know exactly where they are and what survey they performed at what location and make sure you can verify that with concrete facts. GPS support in surveying software solutions is a key factor that provides you with this ability. SurveyToGo is the only solution that shows you exactly who did what & WHERE and integrates with Microsoft Live maps or Google Maps to show you the surveyor’s route on the map along with the places where he/she conducted the interviews.