Web revolution has drastically changed market research increasing the number of options compared to previous methodologies.
In fact, technology has caused several (and significant) modifications to survey techniques. In this post we analyze three of the most common methodologies of research: CATI CAWI CAPI surveys.


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CATI methodology (Computer Assisted Telephone Interview) improved telephone interviewing process. In fact, a software automatically support and lead the interviewer during data collection. Thus, they see questions on the screen followed by possible answers.

For this reason, it has several advantages:

  1. high quality of collected data: you avoid any interviewer misinterpretation or incorrect question administering;
  2. time reduction: automatic callback managed by the system. The interviewer can also directly insert the data with no use of paper;
  3. more accuracy: being completely automated, there’s no room for mistakes or unclear compiling;
  4. complete control on interviews progress: you can check in real time completed, incomplete and dropped interviews.

For more information on this methodology you can check our post Research methodologies: CATI


We said that web revolution has been crucial to market research evolution. This is particularly true for CAWI methodology (Computer Assisted Web Interviewing).

Back in the days, with CAWI you could reach just around 20% of the population. So it was used just for limited purposes.

Today, you reach wide and generic population (an entire country, a multinational corporation…). A link is sent to the respondents via email. They just follow the link to complete the questionnaire.

Main characteristics of CAWI method are:

1. the software autonomously send the emails and takes care of their following classification. Finished questionnaires are marked as complete.

2. the respondent is invited via email and clicks on the link to answer the questionnaire.

Obviously you need to have all email addresses of your respondents to carry on a CAWI survey.

We analyzed all its main characteristics in Survey methods: CAWI


CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interview) method is the tech evolution of Face to Face research. An interviewer collects the data in a face to face meeting with the respondent.

Using a mobile device or PC even offline, the interviewer carry on the interview and send back the answers in real time. Data are immediately sent to the main server.

CAPI is used a lot in Mystery Client research: mystery clients can discreetely complete their task in their smartphone or mobile device.

For more information on this methodology you can check our post Survey methods: CAPI

Observations on CATI CAWI CAPI Surveys

To sum up, we compared CATI CAWI CAPI Surveys. And each one of them represented a step forward for market research.

Now it’s time for some observations on the actual effectiveness of these methodologies.

CAWI methodology has several advantages but requires all respondents to have an email account and a basic knowledge of computers to correctly complete the questionnaire.

CAPI methodology’s biggest quality is the real face to face interaction between respondent and interviewer. In contrast, the average number of completed interviews in a working day is usually lower than CATI.

CATI methodology guarantees the benefits of the other two techniques above. Specifically, an heterogeneous target and the call agent that can help the respondent during the interview. But CATI is still the most expensive method because of higher costs linked to the call center, the interviewers and phone traffic.

And the winner is…

All of them! To resume, no methodology can be considered better than the others. In fact, every company has to carefully evaluate its goals. Then, after a careful analysis you will be able to pick and use the best method to reach your goal. Using a software that is able to manage CATI CAWI CAPI Surveys like IdSurvey will always give you the best of each one. 

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