CAPI: Get the Essentials For Better Quality Research

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FocusVision is pleased to announce the release of Decipher CAPI, our new offline survey app! So let’s get to the essentials of what you can do with CAPI, and how you can make the most of your research.

The Value of Face to Face Surveys

CAPI is conducted face to face at the location of the consumer experience. This creates distinct advantages over other survey methods. During a face to face interview, people are more willing to talk about their experiences. And, a good interviewer can engage the participant and glean insights from facial expressions and tone of voice.

Web surveys are the dominant method used by today’s quantitative researcher. No surprise there. However, CAPI is the next most-utilized quantitative method, by volume.

Capture “In the Moment” Feedback

The most distinctive aspect of CAPI is that interviews are conducted on-location. In this case, the interview takes place “in the moment,” while the consumer is having the experience the researcher wants to study.  Interviews can take place at a sporting event, an amusement park, a trade show or even in the person’s home. While at the event, with things fresh on their minds, people can more accurately recall how they feel.

Being in the field also allows a bit of show and tell. The interviewee can point to or demonstrate the situation they want to describe. Photos or video testimonials of the consumer experience can be captured. For example, CAPI is often used for mystery shopping, where the participants can use a mobile device to discreetly enter information while going through a shopping experience exercise.

Getting the Right Sample

Conducting face to face interviews on-location also means that the researcher can talk to the right people at the right time. CAPI is used in exit polling when voters are interviewed after leaving a polling station. This method provides the researcher with absolute certainty that the voting population is being sampled. Hard to reach targets are also well-suited to CAPI interviews. In these cases, there may be no other way to interview consumers outside of physical visits. High profile or busy individuals or consumers who live in remote areas fall into this category.

CAPI does have its drawbacks. Live interviewers must be administered by trained staff, which significantly adds to project cost. It is much harder to conduct ten face to face interviews compared with ten web survey interviews. Furthermore, a live interview may introduce bias if respondents are less willing to express negative views in front of someone else.

Tips for Better CAPI Studies:

Every CAPI situation will be unique. Interviews may take place indoors or outdoors; in loud environments or quiet ones; under bright or dark light, internet access may be spotty or non-existent. As such, you need to make sure all necessary equipment and setup is in place for proper data collection. Here are a few points to consider when conducting a CAPI study:

  • If internet connectivity is poor for your location, make sure you are equipped for offline CAPI. Data can be captured offline and transferred to a central server once internet service is available. It’s a good idea to check if multi-media capture, offline login, and complex survey logic are still supported when going offline. Not all platforms are created equal, and some survey or administrative capabilities may get lost. (hint: use our CAPI app for iOS or Android for a worry-free experience)
  • If outside, be aware of bright lighting and noise. Audio and visual stimuli may not render well on a tablet / smartphone due to bright lights or a noisy environment.
  • Keep things short and simple, especially if you are polling participants at live events. They came to the event to have fun, not to spend 10 minutes answering research questions.
  • You may want to include an incentive if you want to collect more information than the situation allows. Or, you can request a re-contact (get their email so that a fuller survey can be sent to them).
  • Ask permission before capturing photos or videos. Be sensitive to respondent privacy.
  • Allow users to privately submit answers for delicate questions (e.g. income, health related issues). You’ll most likely want to hand the device to the interviewee.

Is CAPI right for your study?

Much like a typical web survey, self-administered CAPI should be user friendly, easy to read, and include all necessary instruction to help each person complete the study without assistance. So, when looking for ways to capture meaningful quantitative insights, consider whether CAPI is the right alternative to you.

Not every quantitative study needs to be a web survey. Each study will have unique needs and goals. The researcher can evaluate whether CAPI, a traditional web survey, or any other method is best suited for achieving the research objectives.

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