Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing: The pro's & cons

CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing) interviews are one of the most effective face-to-face methods to gather data via a computer or tablet. But how does it weigh up against other forms of market research and is it successful for collecting information?

With this in mind we’ve rounded up a few pro’s and con’s that will be useful for your research project.

What is CAPI?

CAPI is a research medium where respondents answer questions that are immediately recorded in to a computer or tablet by the interviewer. The main purpose of CAPI is to conduct large scale continuous surveys for the commercial sector and government which has proven to be increasingly popular since its inception in the 1990’s. CAPI defies the use of traditional paper questionnaires and adopts a face-to-face stance which has had huge effects on quality of data.


There are a number of benefits when taking in to comparison other conventional methods of research. Listed below are the pros of CAPI:

  • Time – Being purely electronic, the time taken to convert a paper questionnaire into a computer would be time-consuming. CAPI software systems also provide data entry, checking and exportation all in one place.
  • Exposure – The program can be incorporated on to the internet, potentially attracting a global audience.
  • Cost – With CAPI you can store data both online and offline eliminating any printing and data-entry costs.
  • Accurate results – CAPI software systems provide analysis of results in real time, which are easily exportable to Excel or CSV, avoiding any possibility of human error.

What’s the catch?

Like everything, there can be minor downfalls but at BEAM we think the positives really outweigh the negatives on this one.

Disadvantages could include:

  • Due to the effectiveness of this market research tool, there may be additional time spent on preparation e.g. programming and procurement.
  • Practicalities such as technical difficulties, internet access and accessibility could affect development of research.

    Is CAPI right for my project?

    We think so. In summary, the effectiveness of CAPI overshadows the small drawbacks that you may face along the way. The accuracy and convenience of CAPI is not only reliable, but the presence of an interviewer only further reinforces its precision.

    Get in touch!

    Have you got any upcoming projects involving CAPI in your market research? We deliver across a range of industries making us the perfect choice to support your needs.


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