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About Survey Solutions and CAPI Advantages

The Computer-Assisted Personal Interview technology developed by the World Bank assists governments, statistical offices and non-governmental organisations in conducting complex surveys with dynamic structures using tablet devices. The software can be tailored to the needs of the clients, allowing them to successfully complete simple and more sophisticated projects: from basic evaluation questionnaires to complicated multistage panel surveys.

The software is offered free of charge, its development being co-financed by the World Bank, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Surveys can be conducted on low-cost Android tablets.

The CAPI Advantage

Introducing CAPI dramatically reduces the time lag between data collection and data analysis. Since manual coding of the responses recorded with pen and paper is no longer necessary and data validation is done in the time of data collection the information is ready for statistical analysis as soon as surveying is completed.

In addition to that, using tablet devices for interviewing yields many other benefits:

  • It reduces the number of coding errors. Surveys can contain validation data that make it impossible to enter values outside a given range. Supervisors may also view and check the collected information as soon as the enumerators finish the interviews, together with possible error reports. Automated routing reduces the incidence of missing data.
  • Changes in the structure of the questionnaire can be instantly reflected on the interviewers' devices. This allows for last-minute updates or error corrections.
  • CAPI technology simplifies conducting surveys with dynamic structure, where the questions to be asked will vary depending on the answers given by the respondent. For instance, if a person participating in a survey reports being employed, an additional section inquiring about the type of job, working hours or income can be displayed.

The software's support for dynamic structure of questionnaires is particularly helpful while conducting studies in an experimental setting, as different sets of questions can be effectively randomly assigned to different respondents.

CAPI is better equipped to deal with personal data. Respondents might prefer to type their own answers to more sensitive questions on the device screen: their answers will not be overheard and their handwriting cannot be recognised. The information exchanged between interviewers, supervisors and the headquarters can be encrypted.

CAPI allows the teams of interviewers to be managed more efficiently. The sample can be updated and new assignments added over-the-air, not requiring the enumerators to return to the headquarters. Multiple enumerators can share the same device, using their individual usernames and passwords.

The technology is continuously improved. In the forthcoming releases the World Bank's CAPI software will support gathering additional types of data, such as GPS coordinates, photos or video clips. We also plan to enable the users to couple the tablets with additional measuring devices, connected through the USB port.