Comparison Of The Main Data Collection Methods

Market analyses are useful in any company and are used as a real resource in order to develop a valid marketing strategy. In a world like today’s where competition has become fierce in every sector, it is important to know who your competitors are and how they behave, in order to be able to make a difference. It is not easy at all, especially for some specific markets, but you have to decide from the beginning how to collect the data. The 3 most used data collection methodologies in the market are: CATI, CAWI and CAPI. They are all very valid but must be chosen according to your needs and objectives, so you need to know the main characteristics that differentiate them.

CATI, telephone surveys

The CATI data collection methodology (Computer Assisted Telephone Interview) consists in carrying out telephone surveys in a simple and fast way. The software helps the interviewer with videos showing the questions of the questionnaire, followed by a list of possible answers that the interviewee can give. The interview therefore takes place in an automated and fluid way thanks to the CATI, guaranteeing the following advantages:

  • more precision in the questions and in compiling the answers thanks to the guided video, which eliminates possible transcription errors;
  • summary screen available which allows you to have concrete feedback on the progress of the surveys (which ones were completed and which ones were interrupted);
  • reliable and safe results thanks to the questions administered accurately;
  • recall organized and remembered automatically by the system with immediate and direct data entry, without the paper-computer transfer.

To take advantage of the CATI method it is important to develop simple and non-binding questions, the surveys must never be too long so as not to tire the interviewee excessively.

CAPI, face-to-face surveys

Another methodology used to collect data is called CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interview) and consists of carrying out face-to-face interviews. In this case, the data is collected in real time via a computer, tablet or smartphone: it is automatically sent to the central server thanks to the software. The answers cannot therefore be written down on paper, otherwise they would be lost and could not be transferred to the server for data processing. Of the three methodologies this is the least used, because many people do not feel comfortable giving answers in front of a person they do not know, the risk is that the information obtained is not entirely reliable. Interviewers usually act discreetly to put the interviewee at ease, using a PDA or smartphone.

CAWI, web surveys

Many people prefer completing surveys online rather than doing it in person or over the phone, because they feel more comfortable and less in the spotlight. The advent of the web has been fundamental for carrying out market surveys and it is here that the CAWI method (Computer Assisted Web Interviewing) comes into play, which was initially used for very limited research, but today allows surveys to be made on a wider, although more generic, user base. How does it work? It is actually very simple, because the methodology consists of sending a link to the interviewee by e-mail. Just click on the link and fill out the questionnaire yourself, you don’t need any assistance. Thanks to the CAWI method, e-mails can be automatically sent to the interviewees, therefore it is essential to have the e-mail addresses of the people to be interviewed.

Which data collection methodology to choose?

These methodologies have big differences so they are chosen based on the context and the type of target. Each of these methods represents a big step forward for market research, but some are more efficient than others. Despite the various advantages that can be obtained, it is also necessary to consider what are the weak points and the problems that could arise. As you can guess, the CAWI method is the most used because it is totally digital, however if you don’t have all the e-mail addresses of the interviewees it is not possible to proceed and sometimes it is really difficult to obtain them. The CAPI method is based on real interaction, which on the one hand can be positive because it eliminates the possibility of inaccuracies. However, an interviewer cannot carry out many surveys in a day, so less data is collected than with the other methods. With the CATI method it is possible to act in an automated way and obtain a lot of data in a short time, however the costs associated with the call center must be considered, which must always be operational.

In conclusion, there is no one methodology that is better than another, the difference is the way it is applied in the reference sector. Each company must evaluate the pros and cons, costs and resources available to choose the method that best suits its needs. Data collection software is truly indispensable in a company that wants to grow in the market, because it can build a solid and efficient strategy.

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