You are currently viewing All You Need to Know About CATI Data Collection

All You Need to Know About CATI Data Collection

In an age where consumers have a wide range of product options, timely and accurate market research is important. Yet one of the most effective approaches to conducting that research has been in use for decades. Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing, or CATI, has a proven track record of producing substantial insights into consumer preferences and behaviors. And now, with the advent of new mobile and connectivity technologies, it’s better than ever.

In this article, we provide an overview of modern CATI data collection and how it helps companies understand their marketplace.

How CATI Data Collection Works

CATI is a market research methodology that produces quantitative, reproducible, and highly accurate results. It uses trained human agents who conduct interviews with respondents over the telephone using a computer-based script.

A computer application presents the agent, or interviewer, with the telephone number of the next subject. When calling a landline number, you may set up the system to dial automatically. When calling a mobile phone number, the number to dial presents itself on the screen and the agent hand dials it on a keypad. If using Predictive Dialing, the computer program actively manages all calls and only connects an answered call. This leads to substantial time and cost savings.

In addition, the program (if desired) automatically reschedules unanswered calls at a later time. This is especially useful when the client has a limited and specifically defined universe of respondents they want to survey.


Each interviewer interacts with one respondent at a time. This provides a more personal touch than automated online surveys can offer. A particular benefit of that personal interaction is that the interviewer can answer any questions and provide clarifications.

The interviewer reads questions from a computer screen and records the respondent’s answers directly into the survey program. While surveys questions are presented in sequential order, surveys vary from respondent-to-respondent depending on the respondents previous responses and the survey logic and skip patterns decided pre-survey launch. In other words, the questionnaire customizes in reaction to the answers. This allows the interview process to interactively hone in on the insights most relevant to the sponsor’s purposes.

Answers are recorded in real-time, the computer application redirects the questioning to check for consistency.

Advantages of CATI Data Collection

CATI offers particular advantages over other market research methodologies in the following areas:


CATI can sometimes provide access to populations that are difficult to reach by other means. For example, while older and lower-income individuals are underrepresented online, most have access to a telephone, whether residential or mobile.


Especially in B2B contexts, CATI can often yield a more representative sample set than other methods. One reason for this is that businesses want to be found, and make their telephone contact information publicly available.


In general, telephone surveys enjoy a higher response rate than, for example, online surveys.


Because there’s a personal interaction between interviewer and respondent, CATI achieves greater accuracy by preventing errors based on respondents’ misunderstandings or providing non-relevant answers. Also, errors in questionnaire administration are avoided since the computer program, rather than the human agent, directs the interview process.


Because the questions’ content and sequence can be customized in real-time based on responses, the information obtained can be sharply focused on the most relevant subject areas.


With responses entered in real-time, the computer application distributes analyses of the survey results immediately.


The fact that the interview is customized based on responses ensures that respondents remain engaged. Indeed. people enjoy answering questions that relate to their own interests and experiences.


At a given cost point, CATI provides greater coverage over a larger geographical area than face-to-face interviews. Thus, providing more representative sample sets and greater accuracy than automated online surveys.

When Should You Use CATI?

CATI may be your best option for market research in the following circumstances:

  • For surveys based on pre-planned, structured interviews.
  • Require in-depth answers to a questionnaire when well-focused.
  • When it’s possible to anticipate all alternatives for how the flow of questions can be sequenced based on a limited universe of possible answers.
  • When it’s necessary to cost-effectively survey large numbers of respondents.

How Precision Opinion Can Make CATI Work for You

Most businesses don’t have the expertise or call center facilities required to make effective use of CATI for market research. But, with over 20 years of CATI experience, Precision Opinion has that and more!

At our Telephone Data Collection Research Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, Precision Opinion maintains a 650-seat CATI data collection facility that employs more than 1,000 workers and conducts almost a million surveys each year. We perform all of our projects entirely in-house within U.S. Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) compliance, as well as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the new California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

Precision Opinion specializes in developing customized research services designed specifically to fit each client’s needs. In addition to numerous commercial clients, we have secured more than 15 years of government market research contracts. Presidential elections and countless local races.

Precision Opinion research associates continually train to ensure that the interviews they conduct yield comprehensive, accurate, and unbiased results. Our proprietary, high-tech, real-time management and reporting software allows our project managers to continually make adjustments to optimize results, while keeping clients continuously informed about the progress of the market research initiatives we conduct on their behalf. We are totally committed to providing you with results you can depend on. That’s why our clients have named us the Most Trusted Name in Market Research.

Learn More About CATI Data Collection

CATI remains a highly effective means of conducting market research that yields the in-depth insights companies need in today’s fast-changing business environment. If you’d like to know more about how Precision Opinion can help make CATI work for your company, please contact us.