Computer Assisted Telephone Interview Laboratory

Department of Statistics

The Faculty of Social Sciences

The Hebrew University, Jerusalem.


General description

In recent years, telephone interviewing has become the predominant mode of data collection for sample surveys in North America and even in Western Europe. The use of the telephone by private survey organizations, for surveys of households and individuals, has recently become quite common in Israel. The rate of telephone coverage for households is now estimated at over 95%. The use of telephone surveys by the research community and by the public sector has been rather sporadic and very little of it is computer assisted. The CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interview) Laboratory at the Hebrew University has been set up with funds from the Faculty of Social Sciences to help researchers develop telephone surveys on substantive issues using modern methods and to carry out methodological research on the use of computer assisted telephone interviewing in Israel.

The facility presently comprises eight stations, each consisting of a 486 PC, connected to a local network, and a telephone line with a PC-Phone dialler. The software used is CASES 3.2 (Computer Assisted Survey Execution System) developed by the University of California at Berkeley's CSM (Computer-assisted Survey Methods Program). An interface with the PC-phone software has been developed by Shlomo Toledano. The possibility of using BLAISE, developed by the Netherlands CBS, is presently being investigated.

The facility is destined to be used for teaching and for research. Teaching of a third year project on telephone surveys has already been carried out during the past two years. Several social science researchers have expressed an interest in using the lab for empirical research and possibilities are presently being investigated. A small scale methodological research project to investigate possibilities of telephone interviewing in Israel has been carried out.


The Applied Statistical Laboratory has been approached by the Television Authority to advise on the statistical aspects of evaluation methods for TV rating measurements. The use of telephone interviewing has been advocated and a small scale methodological research project has been initiated to investigate alternative sampling methods. The Applied Statistical Laboratory received a small grant from the Faculty of Social Science's Research Committee for this purpose and this was used to investigate and compare two alternative sampling strategies:

Some six hundred telephone numbers were selected by each of the methods from the Jerusalem area and telephone interviews were carried out on television ownerships and use. Comparisons of the effects of undercoverage (unlisted numbers), out-of-scope cases (e.g. non-households), non-contacts and refusals will be carried out. Estimates of costs and efficiency will also be made. In addition, small sub-samples of non-contacts are being investigated, in order to assess bias effects.

For full results see: Gad Nathan and Nilufar Aframian (1996). AN EXPERIMENT WITH CATI IN ISRAEL. Paper presented at InterCasic 96, San Antonio, December 11-14, 1996

For further information contact Gad Nathan.

People of the Lab

Related sites

For further information contact:
Gad Nathan,
Tel: +972-2-588-3304/655-3371

Fax: +972-2-532-2545/655-3319