Computer-Assisted Field Entry (CAFE)

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Computer-Assisted Field Entry (CAFE) is data collection method in which enumerators conduct a pen-and-paper interview, which is then followed by real-time data entry completed in the field. This page outlines the advantages and disadvantages of CAFE and provides points to consider when deciding whether or not CAFE fits well into your questionnaire programming and design plan.

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Considerations

Advantages

  • CAFE surveys be done in areas where electronic data collection is not possible (i.e. places where enumerators face security risks from carrying tablets or where electricity is a significant barrier).
  • CAFE surveys leave a paper trail to follow.
  • Double-data entry can prevent transcription errors.
  • Relative to PAPI surveys, CAFE surveys allow data to be entered in close-to-real time and thus facilitate high frequency checks.

Disadvantages

  • 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 systems between the data entry team and the field team.
  • Because CAFE requires a mobile data entry team, it is often more expensive than either typical PAPI or CAPI set-ups.
  • Relative to CAPI surveys, CAFE surveys cannot include hard constraints such as restricting the range of values that can be entered for a certain question. Thus, 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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