CAPI, or Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing, is a method of conducting surveys in which an interviewer uses a computer or tablet to administer and record responses to survey questions. CAPI surveys are typically used for in-person interviews and are comparable to Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing – (CATI), where surveys are conducted via phone calls, and the responses are entered into specialized software.

GeoPoll conducts millions of surveys annually using CAPI and CATI using our proprietary GeoPoll Interviewer Platform. This article looks at how to conduct CAPI Interviews, its benefits, and limitations.

Basic steps for conducting a CAPI survey:

The process of conducting CAPI surveys may vary from project to project and the tools used, but here is a typical process.

  • Train the interviewers: Before conducting the survey, the interviewers should be trained on the survey software, the survey questions, and any specific instructions for conducting the interview. GeoPoll has a dedicated team that trains interviewers for every survey we conduct.
  • Test the survey software: Before beginning the survey, the interviewers should test the survey software to ensure that it is working properly and that they are comfortable using it.
  • Recruit participants: Identify a sample of people who match your survey’s population and recruit them. If your survey requires a specific criteria like age, location, or education, you need to screen the participants before the interview.
  • Conduct the interview while entering the data: The interviewer will ask the participant the questions as they appear on the computer or tablet screen. The interviewer may also use skip patterns and routing instructions to present questions based on the participant’s responses. The data should be entered accurately, which is a major advantage of CAPI over pen and paper surveys.
  • Data quality checks: Where possible, incorporate a mechanism for quality assurance to check for any errors in real time. The GeoPoll platform, for example, conducts automated checks for inconsistencies, unmatched GPS locations, and any breaks in data streaming and flags such for timely correction.
  • Store and analyze the data: The data should be stored securely and backed up regularly. Once the data is collected from all participants, it can be analyzed to determine the survey results.
  • Report the results: As always, the ultimate goal of any study is to provide actionable reports to decision-makers. Through the GeoPoll portal, one can check the results in real time, and we provide several finalized report types at the end of the study.
SUGGESTED  Key Informant Interviews: An In-Depth Guide for Researchers

Why use CAPI?

CAPI is becoming increasingly popular among researchers due to its many advantages over traditional paper-and-pencil surveys.

CAPI face to face surveys

One of the main advantages of CAPI is that it allows for real-time data validation and skip pattern logic. As the interviewer enters the data, the computer program can check for errors or inconsistencies in the responses, making it easier to identify and correct mistakes. Additionally, the program can be programmed to skip specific questions based on the respondent’s previous answers, which can help reduce the length of the interview and increase efficiency.

CAPI also allows for greater flexibility in question design. Traditional paper-and-pencil surveys often limit questions to multiple-choice or open-ended formats. However, with CAPI, researchers have access to a wide range of question types, such as rating scales, date pickers, and multimedia questions. This allows researchers to collect more detailed and accurate data.

Another advantage of CAPI is that it allows for more efficient data processing and analysis. With traditional surveys, data must be manually entered into a spreadsheet or database, which can be time-consuming and error-prone. On the other hand, CAPI allows the data to be directly transferred into a digital format, which can be easily analyzed and exported to various statistical software packages.

Drawbacks of CAPI

Despite its many advantages, CAPI also has its drawbacks. For example, the interviewer must be familiar with the software and have a good internet connection (at least at some point in the study). This can be a limitation in areas with poor internet infrastructure. To mitigate this for our studies, the GeoPoll Interviewer Platform provides for offline data collection until the enumerator has a connection.

Additionally, CAPI can be more expensive than traditional surveys because of the cost of the equipment and software. To counter this, GeoPoll uses our GeoPoll Interviewer App, which is installed on the interviewer’s own smartphone.

SUGGESTED  Key Informant Interviews: An In-Depth Guide for Researchers


In conclusion, Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing is a valuable survey research method that offers many advantages over traditional paper-and-pencil surveys. It allows for real-time data validation and skip pattern logic, greater flexibility in question design, and more efficient data processing and analysis. However, it also has drawbacks, such as cost and potential discomfort with technology among participants.

GeoPoll can conduct face-to-face interviews via CAPI in almost any country and has experience responding quickly to fast-moving situations. To learn more about our capabilities, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

The GeoPoll Interviewer Platform from GeoPoll on Vimeo.