Among the many research methods and techniques available, CAWI, i.e. Computer Assisted Web Interview, has gained high popularity. This isn’t surprising as almost everyone uses the Internet now, both professionally and privately. For many companies it is the primary channel of reaching and communicating with the customer. With the help of online surveys, it is possible to conduct research on virtually any topic. The CAWI method has more advantages – and that’s what this article will be about.

CAWI research methodology is an interview conducted via an Internet channel. The respondent receives and completes the survey provided to them through the same online channel. This technique is undoubtedly one of the most popular and the most dynamically developing methods of marketing research. And this isn’t all. It is also used in scientific research, market research, business research, etc.

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CAWI method – the greatest advantages

According to research carried out by the Pollster Research Institute, the research market based on the CAWI methodology is developing very dynamically. In 2015, the share of people tested using this technique accounted for 36% of all studies. This, CAWI ranked ahead of research methods such as F2F, CATI, CAPI or qualitative research.

Why do survey authors use CAWI so often? Here are the three biggest advantages of this method:

First of all – low implementation costs

When you decide to use online surveys, you don’t have to spend money on printing questionnaires (which is not only cheap, but also environmentally friendly and this is something that’s very important for many companies). Furthermore, you don’t need to hire people to conduct the research for you. By using a platform such as Startquestion you can create any questionnaire yourself. As part of one system, you will also send invitations to be completed by respondents and analyse the results (there is a possibility of filtering  information, creating cross tables, etc.). The system will also generate reports automatically. As you can see, an Internet survey limits the number of people needed to create and carry it out and allows you to focus the entire project on one channel of communicating with the respondent. And this pays off for the company.

Secondly – a very large range and speed of the test

Almost 70% of Poles have access and use the Internet. It’s hard to find another channel where such a large number of potential recipients would be gathered at the same time. CAWI can be used not only by large corporations. Smaller companies with email addresses of their customers can turn the online survey into the main channel for reaching both new and existing customers – asking for satisfaction, checking loyalty or brand attachment. The possibilities are practically unlimited. In addition, the CAWI method is characterized by a short implementation time. No need for personal contact with the respondent, the possibility of sending invitations to hundreds or even thousands of people at once or placing a link to a survey on the company website, makes the whole process much shorter than in the case of CATI or direct research.

Thirdly – versatility and easy adaptation to individual requirements

An online survey can relate to anything. Companies can use it to assess customer loyalty, satisfaction with a specific transaction or contact with the customer service office. Examples of CAWI research aimed at customers can be found in the employee research section. With the help of online surveys you can research candidates applying for work (Candidate Experience) or carry out 360-degree feedback focusing on comprehensive evaluation of a given employee in an organization.

Of course, CAWI research is not just for business. Such studies are more frequently used by universities and other educational institutions, institutes and research centres. It is a great marketing tool that can be easily adapted to any individual requirements, in terms of the length of the survey, the type of questions asked, the method of collecting the results, and finally – their analysis and reporting. An online questionnaire can be freely modified at any time or depending on the responses provided. This can be done even during its course. CAWI research is also much easier to improve than studies carried out in the form of paper or via telephone. If an error is noticed, it can be corrected even after the mailing of invitations to respondents has started. 

CAWI and CATI and other research methods – what is the advantage of online surveys?

When compared to other popular methods, the CAWI method allows to collect more reliable data thanks to the possibility of guaranteeing anonymity and enabling participation in the survey at a time convenient for the respondent. Here are some of the research methods with which CAWI is most often compared:

  1. PAPI (Paper and Pen Personal Interview), which is the most classic and oldest method. Here, the interviewer employed for this purpose has a paper version of the questionnaire, conducts interviews and records the responses obtained. The entire survey is conducted on paper, from collecting statements to analysing the results. 
  2. CAPI, Computer Assisted Personal Interview are interviews conducted through specially designed software. Answers of respondents are automatically saved in a digital version.
  3. CATI, or Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews. It is a computer-assisted interview with the respondent. Research using this technique is often used to promote the company’s image, develop a production strategy or for marketing-related activities.

Each of the methods mentioned above has its advantages and a group of supporters. Undoubtedly, however, CAWI is the method currently used by most companies, due to the above advantages: low costs, wide range and versatility of use.

Make your own CAWI survey and see how simple it is

Startquestion is a platform that makes it possible to create a wide range of online surveys, i.e. those carried out using the CAWI method. The platform makes it possible to create, and then distribute and collect the results of research targeted at customers or business partners. It is possible to create marketing research, Net Promoter Score – relational and transactional, 360-degree feedback or Customer Effort Score. To put it briefly, it is possible to create whatever your company needs.

On the Startquestion page you can see several dozen examples of online surveys and you can use them as ready-made templates for conducting your own research.