If you are looking for a new and efficient way to conduct market research, you should consider computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI). CATI is a survey methodology growing in popularity in recent years due to its many benefits. It allows researchers to collect data from respondents through a computer, which helps speed up the data collection process and produce more accurate results.

This can be an excellent tool for researchers who want to gather data from a large number of respondents in a short period. This beginner’s guide will introduce you to the basics of CATI, how you can get started using this methodology, and use it to your advantage in your market research studies.

What is CATI?

CATI is a research technique that uses a computer to guide telephonic survey research. The interviewer makes a call to the respondent and conducts the entire study over the phone, using a script that is displayed on a system rather than a paper-printed questionnaire. CATI automates the data collection by allowing agents to make notes about the respondent’s responses on the system.

The computer’s use of logic helps make the interview process dynamic by allowing question randomization and repetition based on the sort of responses received from a particular responder, which is customized. Also, piping and branching methods can route the flow of information and skip questions depending on what is essential for each person.

CATI is a more practical approach to traditional data collection because it combines the interpersonal touch created by researchers and a responder interacting with each other and a more straightforward method of collecting and sorting data that enables respondents to provide relevant information while maintaining high quality.

Furthermore, it allows the interviewer to concentrate on the conversation while delegating the complex data management task to the computer. Thus, the interviewer may use this method to get the best conversation possible with the responder while also increasing data collection efficiency.


CATI, CAPI, and CAWI are three distinct research techniques that use computers to conduct personal interviews through the internet. These three approaches have common names and are frequently mentioned together.

Yet, they are different tools with distinguishable features to consider when selecting a data collection technique. However, below are the significant differences between CATI, CAPI, and CAWI:

Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI)

CAPI is in-person or face-to-face research that involves recording interview responses using software on a computer or tablet. CAPI is a self-administered questionnaire with interviewer administration, which means that interviewers can clarify questions that respondents may misinterpret and pursue additional information.

It is often seen as an improvement over previous face-to-face interview approaches. Interviewers used pen and paper to read through a questionnaire and record information since it reduces the risk of interviewer error and enables more secure data storage.

The CAPI survey interface is simple to navigate and supports qualitative and quantitative question types. Interviewers can utilize visual and audio aids as well. Because CAPI is a face-to-face research mode, it may collect data from individuals who do not have access to the internet or phones, making it an excellent option for collecting information from low-income groups.

Interviewers for CAPI must be educated in survey research and need to travel to each household they will speak with. In areas where houses may be widely scattered, such as in developing nations and rural regions, data collection with CAPI methods might be time-consuming.

Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI)

CATI is a voice contact interview approach in which trained interviewers call respondents’ phone numbers, usually from a central call center. In some respects, (Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing) CATI interviews are similar to CAPI interviews. They are both interviewer-administered, so interviewers can ask questions and clarify survey answers in the same way as a CAPI questionnaire.

CATI interviews may include audio support as part of a questionnaire design and can use both qualitative and quantitative survey questions. Interviewers may also use CATI software to record answers and keep data safe.

CATI surveys can only be conducted among individuals who have a landline or mobile phone, which means the low-income group may not be accessible via a CATI survey since they do not have access to mobile phone or internet, which is the case with most surveys.

However, CATI surveys are generally faster to complete than CAPI surveys. They are usually less expensive since interviewers do not have to travel to conduct interviews in person.

Computer Assisted Web Interviewing (CAWI)

Computer Assisted Web Interviewing (CAWI) is the process of conducting surveys via a web browser or mobile app. CAWI surveys can be completed in various ways, including email, mobile app notifications, and internet marketing.

CAWI surveys can accept both closed- and open-ended survey questions; nevertheless, they may not yield as much qualitative information as an interviewer-administered approach like CATI or CAPI, since in those types of surveys the interviewer can clarify responses. 

On the other hand, CAWI surveys help obtain quick insights from large sample sizes because they do not need interviewers to be trained and can be completed quickly. 

However, they are restricted to individuals who have internet access and are comfortable with computers or internet-enabled phones or tablets.

Choosing Between CATI, CAPI, and CAWI

As discussed above, there are significant distinctions between CATI, CAPI, and CAWI survey modes. CATI and CAPI are the best methods for obtaining a representative survey to get the most relevant information with the highest quality of data. Still, CAWI might be useful in countries with high levels of internet access or for gathering insights on a consumer population quickly.

However, consider the target population, questionnaire length and complexity, budget, and timeframe when determining a research mode. Depending on what you’re looking to research, specific methods may be more realistic than others; speaking with a study professional might help you narrow down the options to use.

In addition to the three primary research methods discussed above, there are many other choices like SMS and IVR (Interactive Voice Response). 

Factors Essential for the Successful functioning of CATI

The following three items are essential in ensuring that CATI is successful:


A well-structured questionnaire can assist the respondents in providing you with the most helpful information. A good questionnaire should include correct data, but it should also have reflexive and spontaneous questions. A good questionnaire must be written to separate valid data from respondent opinions, along with control flow tools such as conditions or skip logic.


A successful job interview is polite and engaging in dialogue without becoming partial. A good interviewer may impact the conversation and alter the outcome. It takes a little common courtesy and continual engagement in the discussion. However, you may gain an accurate, detailed, and unbiased report by employing skilled CATI interviewers.

Consumer Specific Timing

One of the essential advantages of a CATI interview is that it is not limited to a single location or website, and it is not restricted by time. It can be done at any time that is convenient for consumers.

Using systems, transparency, expertise, and professionalism at each step of the way is critical to obtaining the precise data required. The computer-assisted interview approach of CATI enhances the rationality of the entire interview process.

The survey results may be tracked quickly when the data is immediately moved to the central server. 

Despite recent technological progress, numerous alternate channels and methods, and the passage of time, CATI continues to support millions of organizations worldwide.

CATI remains the solid rock foundation of the market research business. It offers accurate and comprehensive results, making it the most desired superhero theme globally.

Using CATI Research

In market research, CATI is a type of telephone survey used when an interviewer is conducting phone interviews – whether for business or consumer audiences. It is a quantitative research technique that utilizes a trained interviewer to conduct a pre-designed scripted interview with a subject over the phone.

It may be used to input data in the same way as a paper questionnaire, and the information can be fed straight into a system that keeps all answers for future study. CATI methodologies also eliminate the need for data transmission from paper to electronic formats for analysis, saving time and avoiding error.

How CATI Can Help With Market Research

CATI is a quantitative research technique involving a trained interviewer to conduct an automated phone interview (read from a computer screen). The participant’s responses are immediately recorded electronically in a computer program using coded options by the interviewer.

CATI allows for a customizable survey process with an infinite number of participants, at the same time, it is less time-consuming than other data collection techniques. You may consider the following when deciding whether computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI) may help your business:

  • CATI enhances the precision of questionnaires by allowing researchers to adjust questionnaire wording and thus reduces the likelihood that respondents may provide irrelevant information because they misinterpret the question. CATI interviewers are free to respond to any questions asked by respondents and double-check answers. A customized point of contact ensures that data is recorded correctly, not just as stated.

  • CATI allows you to design a custom experience for your respondents that considers their “applicable” and “inapplicable” answers. This implies that questions that address respondents’ circumstances are the only ones they respond to.
  • The program follows a strict script and uses computer-generated parameters to compare responses for accuracy. Interviewers employ coded choices that correspond to respondent replies to minimize bias and assure data is consistent and error-free.

Challenges Associated with CATI

When getting started on a CATI study, there are a few challenges to consider. Here are a few of them:

  • The interviewers must be educated on the specific questionnaire and the CATI software.
  • If questionnaires are created incorrectly in the CATI software, interviewers may not identify and administer surveys incorrectly.

  • Because open-ended answers must be submitted to the CATI software, transcription errors may occur.
  • It may be challenging to update previous answers in CATI software since backward navigating is more challenging than it is with pen-and-paper

What CATI Enables You To Do

CATI is a new method for recording and evaluating customer interaction data that improves the traditional pen-and-paper system. Using CATI software, data is safely preserved, and interviewers may concentrate on the interview rather than on survey routing.

The following are some of the things CATI software can do:

  • CATI software performs automatic survey routing based on the provided answer; if a person responds yes to a specific question, the CATI software will display the proper next question automatically
  • The data is directly uploaded to the central system, eliminating the need for manual data input based on pen-and-paper questionnaires. This significantly lowers data processing and upload time.
  • Stored questionnaires digitally, allowing them to be updated or modified on the fly if difficulties arise with question wording or logic.
  • Automatically keeps track of survey performance statistics, such as response rates, completion rates & dropoff rates
  • Replies can trigger actions (send an email to someone, an API request to your CRM, etc)
  • Conditions & skip logic help ask only relevant questions
  • Personalization (templating) of questions helps further tailor the questionnaire

Advantages of Computer-assisted Telephone Interviewing


CATI is an effective tool for gathering data from respondents that are not easily accessible. It eliminates geographical boundaries to make it easier for interviewers to collect data from a participant via a phone call.

CATI’s main advantage is that it allows you to conduct interviews remotely, eliminating a physical meeting between the respondent and interviewer. This speeds up conducting large-scale research without requiring a significant outlay of money.


Respondents have a wide range of views, and as the number of respondents grows, so does the amount of variety. When it comes to obtaining the required number of responses within a specific time frame, great software that allows for survey customization based on the type of respondent answers is essential. This provides the benefit of obtaining precise information and eliminating any question or issue irrelevant to the responder.

Quicker Process

Given that half of the task is automated and managed by computer software, collecting data using CATI is quicker than other manual approaches. Staying on track and to the point offers the bonus of covering all of a respondent’s pain points efficiently, allowing the necessary responses to be gathered and met.


Respondents may be uncertain about the questions or believe that the alternatives provided are unclear. The doubts raised by the survey’s perplexity may quickly be allayed through further explanation by the interviewer on call.

Most online surveys do not provide clarification; therefore, CATI is a preferable option. The better the respondent understands the questions, the more informed and accurate answers they will give.

Disadvantages of Computer-assisted Telephone Interviewing

Designing Takes Time

However, gathering information might be quick, but constructing a questionnaire and inputting it into the program may be time-consuming. This is followed by the interviewer’s typing speed and accuracy.

The interviewer must be quick in entering the client’s responses while also ensuring that they do not overlook any necessary keywords for completing the research goal.

Changes are Difficult to Implement

Due to the software’s use of piping and branching, it’s also challenging to add modifications and update answers if respondents recall a part of the response later.

What Are CATI Services

You’ll need a highly intuitive CATI software that helps interviewers ask relevant and practical questions to improve data collection performance and quality. The responses are recorded on a system for further analysis at the same time. It’s not the best idea to utilize low-cost CATI solutions to save costs.

CATI services can assist you in understanding your client’s actions, market trends, and anything else that affects the marketplace. The following are some of the studies covered under CATI research:

  • Urban and rural studies
  • Event feedback survey
  • Quantitative pricing research
  • Report creation and presentation
  • Analysis and buyer behavior and market segmentation
  • Data Analysis
  • Evaluation of customer experience and satisfaction via survey
  • and many more

engageSPARK offers a unique CATI software, as researchers can automate data collection to interface with the CATI survey.  For example, an organization can send an SMS survey, IVR survey, or WhatsApp survey to a massive number of participants.  Those who answer in a certain way can automatically be added to a list of respondents that a researcher needs to follow up with via a live CATI survey.  At the end of the CATI interview, the participants can automatically be sent an airtime top-up as a reward and a short, automated three-question IVR survey to collect feedback. These powerful automations connected to the CATI survey add a different dimension to the CATI survey process.

How to Create the Most Effective Phone Surveys

Try to have an honest and spontaneous discussion with the audience while using this technique. First, identify your target demographic by combining age group, geographic location, internet usage pattern, and other criteria. Write your questions, in the same manner, you would if creating a script.

Exciting and intriguing questions will put both interviewers and candidates at ease. You may start by asking simple questions and then proceed to uncharted territory. This will help you figure out the most important things you need to know about your prospects: what they want and what it will take to get there.

How Does CATI Software Work?

A CATI software is a computer program that allows interviewers to conduct telephone interviews by following a script during the session. A flexible and user-friendly platform suggests questions and collects answers automatically, allowing interviewers to focus on the responder’s feelings and tone of voice.

It’s a simple survey tool that allows interviewers to gather data and alter the direction of the encounter based on prior answers. Every piece of information is instantly stored in the cloud, and each survey may be efficiently retrieved, modified, and evaluated in real-time. That implies that follow-up questions and open-ended ones may be assembled quickly and safely.

Conclusion: How CATI May Improve your Business

The arrival of CATI is an excellent illustration of how technology has revolutionized the way individuals work daily. CATI is a perfect way to add value to the testing toolkit process with timely and high-quality data.

The use of CATI has improved and strengthened. It has also simplified its functioning and usage, despite criticism from worldwide about its sustainability and efficacy due to the vast technological advancements. To be successful, a firm must be accurate when gathering market research information since incorrect data is similar to wasted data, resulting in extraordinary expenses and poor operational quality.

A business that wants to gain access to the required data may do so without the need for any planning or management. Companies may utilize the interactive CATI method of interviews to develop crucial and successful questions that assist in market research.