Telephone survey research requires systematic collection of data from a sample population using a standardized questionnaire. A telephone survey is a method of public opinion polling where telephone numbers are used to contact potential respondents, either from the general population or from a known sample (for example, license buyers or members of an organization).
Of all the methods employed in public opinion polling, telephone surveys are the preferred choice to maximize response rates, as well as to maintain control over the quality of the data. Telephones are effective in obtaining public opinion because nearly all residents of the U.S. have access to a telephone.
Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) is a telephone surveying technique in which the interviewer follows a script provided by a software application. The software is able to customize the flow of the questionnaire based on the answers provided as well as information already known about the participant. With CATI research, the entire questionnaire is programmed into an interactive computer-based script that looks and navigates much like a web survey.
The technology allows a computer to dial the phone numbers and after a respondent is reached, a live interviewer conducts the interview by reading verbatim from the programmed survey script. The interviewer reads the question and possible responses to the respondent, marks the appropriate answer and then moves to the next screen.
Appropriately designed Web-based surveys poll public opinion by inviting a known group of potential respondents to participate in completing an online survey. Responses are submitted electronically by means of the Internet.
Web-based surveys are excellent methods to use when the sample consists of known respondents with Web access, such as in an internal survey. Web-based surveys are also highly effective in augmenting response rates when respondents contacted through another medium (mail/telephone) indicate they would prefer an alternative method of responding.
Among the many advantages of Web-based surveys are rapid return of data, reduced effort in data handling and potentially lower research costs. Respondents can take the survey at a time of their own choosing, when they can give it their full attention, in contrast to the potential “interruption” of a telephone or mall-intercept survey. They can read the questions and the answer choices, instead of only hearing them, and can review them if needed. Respondents may also take as much time as they need to think about the answer to a question.
Because the Internet permits images, sounds and video to be integrated into the questionnaire, it can be an ideal medium to test new product concepts, commercials, print ads, package graphics, promotion concepts, brand names and logos.