Computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) refers to survey data collection by an in-person interviewer (i.e. face-to-face interviewing) who uses a computer to administer the questionnaire to the respondent and captures the answers onto the computer. This interviewing technique is a relatively new development in survey research that was made possible by the personal computer revolution of the 1980s.


To understand the evolution of CAPI it is necessary to understand the history that led to its development and widespread implementation. In the late 1980s, many surveys used early versions of computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI). The early CATI systems ran as terminal applications on a mainframe or minicomputer. Computer applications typically used compilers; the central computer had to handle many simultaneous processes to service a CATI research facility. The ...

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