Interviews carried out by telephone are guided by a questionnaire displayed on the screen of a computer. The interviewer records answers via the keyboard to correspond with the pre-coded responses displayed on the screen.
CATI research has considerable advantages:
There are some disadvantages to CATI research. Getting a questionnaire set up and running, fault free, on a CATI system takes time. Coping with open ended responses presents some problems on CATI because, although the systems can accommodate open ended comment, capturing them requires interviewers to have good typing skills. If a respondent makes changes to an earlier answer when part way through the interview, it is more difficult to return and make alterations than is the case with paper questionnaires.
In general, CATI research is best suited to structured interviews carried out in large numbers, especially repeated surveys where all the possible answers have been worked out and can be listed as pre-coded responses.