Computer Audio-Recorded Interviewing as a tool for survey research
Developers must understand the needs of user populations and the potential benefits of the new software to them, so that the development team can create an effective system. Especially for applications employed outside the computing profession, it is important for the software team to learn context and workflow and to understand the value that their development work will bring to the users. This article discusses design and implementation considerations for computer audio-recorded interviewing (CARI), a method coming into widespread use for survey research in the social sciences. When implemented as part of the data collection process, CARI allows a survey manager to listen to the exact circumstances of how questions were asked and answered during the interview, a much more powerful approach than prior indirect methods of quality control and improvement. Design considerations can be complex when planning an integrated system. Based on a decade of experience and prior implementation of several distinct CARI systems, this article explores a part of the operational world of survey research from the eye of the system developer. It offers context for those developers who are unfamiliar with survey research or for anyone who is unfamiliar with CARI operations. Discussion focuses on benefits, requirements, user goals, system design challenges, and options.