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Telephone Interviewing


Telephone interviews are conducted according to a survey developed in advance, the course of the interview is completely controlled by CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) – a computerized system of telephone interviews (a computerized telephone surveying technique in which the interviewer follows a script provided by a software application).

A survey is loaded on a main computer that then loads the survey, question after question, on computer screens of the twenty terminals of the call-center. The interviewer reads the questions posed on the computer screen and records the respondent’s answers directly into the computer. The software has built-in branching logic, which will skip questions that are not applicable, rotate questions and response options where necessary.

Advantages of telephone interviewing:

  • sample is geographically dispersed (limitations on the number of sampling points are removed)
  • interviews are dispersed within a settlement (not limited to only a few routs)
  • level of respondent reach is higher compared to face-to-face interviewing
  • methodological experience is unified – one team of trained interviewers-operators (with similar experience and work style) conducts survey over all research territory
  • compliance with criteria of household selection and respondent selection is automatically controlled
  • sample is automatically controlled according to given parameters
  • all interviews are audio recorded
  • surveys with complex structure are administered
  • human factor mistakes are minimized
  • efficiency


1. Population surveys

Households are randomly selected by a special computer system from a complete list of telephone numbers of individual subscribers to PBX residing in the area being surveyed. The program allows construction of samples for different territorial and administrative units.

For example, a representative sample for a large city will proportionally represent all administrative city units or electoral constituencies for elections of different levels to legislative government authorities. A representative sample can be constructed within any administrative unit or electoral constituency.

Methods of sample construction:

1) representative sample (model of a total population)

  • stratified random probability sample (Kish grid)
  • stratified probability sample with controlled parameters (quota method)

2) purposive sample (model of a population part – respondent’s belongingness to a target group is controlled according to given parameters)

  • stratified purposive probability sample
Sample size
(number of respondents)
400 600 800 1000 1200 1500 2000 2500 5000
Sample error, % ±5,0 ±4,08 ±3,54 ±3,16 ±2,89 ±2,58 ±2,34 ±2,0 ±1,41


2. Establishment surveys

Organizations are selected randomly by a special computer program from a complete list of telephone numbers of entities - subscribers to PBX that belong to the target group and are registered in the area being surveyed. The program allows construction of samples according to the following criteria – territorial and industrial organization’s belongingness, form of ownership, year of establishment, number of employees.

Methods of sample construction:

  • stratified purposive probability sample
  • snowball method

Advantages of telephone interviewing

Prompt data collection and processing is the main advantage of telephone interviewing. Telephone interviewing is widely used in different kinds of research:

  • sociological research – the study of different socio-economic and political issues;
  • electoral research – one of the most efficient and quick ways to evaluate a situation in a particular electoral constituency as well as a means to support candidates from single-seat electoral districts;
  • market research – the study of effectiveness of advertising events, awareness of trademarks, trademarks’ specific use, situations of their use, trademarks’ image, etc.

Telephone interviewing is not recommended in the following situations:

  • when it is necessary to conduct surveys in rural areas where telephone service is limited;
  • when it is necessary to show cards or photos (for example, a container or logo);
  • when the survey to administer is very long;
  • when it is necessary to survey exclusive segment of consumers.

Call center schedule and times of survey completion

Twenty - forty interviewers-operators work Monday through Sunday from 12 pm till 5 pm and from 5 pm till 10 pm (2 shifts). On average, during two shifts operators produce 300-500 completed interviews. The client has a chance to familiarize himself/ herself with interim results within 1,5-2 hours after every shift’s end.

  • Population survey – from 1 to 7 days
  • Establishment survey – from 1 to 2 weeks

Geography of research

  • Saint-Petersburg
  • Leningrad region
  • Russia (89 constituent entities of the Federation)