Computer-Assisted Field Entry (CAFE)

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Computer-Assisted Field Entry is a middle ground between Pen-and-Paper Personal Interviews (PAPI) and Computer-Assisted Personal Interviews (CAPI). It involves pen-and-paper interviews, with data entry done in the field in real time.

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Although logistically complex and potentially expensive, when done well CAFE surveys yield reliably high-quality data.


Pros of CAFE surveys

CAFE surveys may be done in areas where electronic data collection is not possible, for example if enumerators face security risks from carrying tablets in the field, or if electricity is a significant barrier.

Advantages compared to CAPI surveys: there is a paper trail to follow and double-data entry can prevent transcription errors.

Advantages compared to PAPI surveys: the data is entered in close-to-real time, allowing for high frequency checks.

Cons of CAFE surveys

CAFE surveys require careful planning and logistics to do well. It is essential that data entry is done in as-close-as-possible to real time, and that there are clear feedback system between the data entry team and the field team. Because they require a mobile data entry team, it is often more expensive than either typical PAPI or CAPI set-ups.

Disadvantage compared to CAPI surveys: it is not possible to have 'hard constraints' such as restricting the range of values that can be entered for a certain question. More extensive data quality feedback to enumerators is required.

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This article is part of the topic Primary Data Collection

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