Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI)

PADData quality is the core preoccupation of DevEC. To promote data quality to the maximum, DevEC uses handheld electronic devices (PDAs and tablets) to capture data in real-time from the survey respondents. CAPI offers many advantages over traditional pen and paper interviews, notably related to data quality and timeliness:

  • Reduction of enumerator bias:In large questionnaires with complex skip patterns, it is easy for enumerators to lose track of the survey logic. With electronic surveying, the logic of the questionnaire is pre-programmed and enumerators are automatically guided through the questionnaire.

  • Reduction of measurement error:Thanks to pre-programmed consistency checks the enumerator receives an automatic warning whenever s/he enters an implausible value for a certain variable. This drastically reduces the presence of outliers and extreme values in the data

  • Elimination of data entry phase: Experience learns that most errors happen during data entry, when the paper questionnaires are transferred to computers. Electronic surveying eliminates the data-entry phase, enhancing data quality.

  • Fast data: Data are available immediately after the interviews, since there is no longer need for time-consuming data entry.

The use of electronic surveying also enhances the feedback from survey management to the field. Using netbooks and mobile modems, data gathered by the field teams during the day are sent for validation to survey management the same evening. In case of problems with the data, survey management can let the field teams know and give specific instructions to the field teams while they are still on-site, thereby promoting the quality and consistency of the data.

DevEC disposes of all necessary equipment to guarantee the smooth functioning of an electronic survey, even in places such as rural Burundi where electricity is scarce (spare batteries, mobile car chargers allowing to charge 5 devices at the same time in one car, small portable generators,...).


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