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Web-assisted telephone interviewing (WATI) surveys

Web-assisted telephone interviewing is a mixed-mode interview technique where the respondent can follow a telephone questionnaire online under the control of the telephone interviewer, allowing personalised prompt material to be shown in step with the question flow. As part of our Cxoice Survey Technologies, it is very effective for international business-to-business market research to show test materials to difficult to reach audiences for projects such as pricing or conjoint analysis studies where the show materials are too complex to ask about without being seen.

In some areas of research, telephone is still a better contact method than a pure online survey. For instance with difficult to reach groups such as business or medical specialists, or where interactive dialogue is needed such as in depth interviews.

However, telephone research is limited by the inability to show prompt material, such as product profiles for conjoint tasks, price options, or audio or video or imagery for ad testing. Static web-pages are sometimes used via links sent to the respondent by email, but in situations where the prompt material is personalised - for instance, dependent on the respondent's previous answers or due to randomisation, static webpages are extremely restrictive.

Our Cxoice Survey Technologies off the option for a 'web-assist' as part of the cloud-based CATI options.  Respondents can see items and questions depending on the screen the interviewer is on. This allows, for instance, the respondent to see a series of price options tailored to the respondent's previous answers, or a set of specific images of brands or advertising to be shared with the respondent, for instance allowing for skip-patterns or list filters or randomisation.

The main mode of use has the survey being completed by the interviewer, while the respondent only sees static prompts as they track the interviewer. These prompts may include the questions as the interviewer reads them out for instance, or they may just contact the relevant show material for the page and the question and prompt detail (including interviewer instructions) is only seen on the interviewer's screen.

However, it is also possible for the interviewer to act as a guide while the respondent completes the answers on their 'end of the phone'. For instance, using sliders, ranking or other more visual method to answer the question, whilst being guided and supported by the interviewer. The interviewer can then see the answers given and follow up with addition questions, validation or probes. This type of approach also allows a split survey, where the online part of the survey is self-completed by the respondent, but the follow up takes place by phone and the interviewer can review previous answers with the respondent.

Cxoice Survey Technologies offer a range of options for mixed mode surveys and are fully customisable to specific research needs, for instance allowing group-based responses. Combined with CATI-based modules for sample and appointment management, WATI-type approaches can greatly extend the usefulness of telephone-based research, particularly in hard-to-reach business-to-business markets.


For help and advice on carrying out projects requiring web-assisted telephone interviewing (WATI) for qualitative or quantitative contact info@dobney.com


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