Investigating multiple householdwater sources and uses with a computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) survey

Morgan C. MacDonald, Mark Elliott, Terence Chan, Annika Kearton, Katherine F Shields, Jamie Bartram, Wade L Hadwen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The investigation of multiple sources in household water management is considered overly complicated and time consuming using paper and pen interviewing (PAPI).We assess the advantages of computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) in Pacific Island Countries (PICs). We adapted an existing PAPI survey on multiple water sources and expanded it to incorporate location of water use and the impacts of extreme weather events using SurveyCTO on Android tablets. We then compared the efficiency and accuracy of data collection using the PAPI version (n = 44) with the CAPI version (n = 291), including interview duration, error rate and trends in interview duration with enumerator experience. CAPI surveys facilitated high-quality data collection and were an average of 15.2 min faster than PAPI. CAPI survey duration decreased by 0.55% per survey delivered (p < 0.0001), whilst embedded skip patterns and answer lists lowered data entry error rates, relative to PAPI (p < 0.0001). Large-scale household surveys commonly used in global monitoring and evaluation do not differentiate multiple water sources and uses. CAPI equips water researchers with a quick and reliable tool to address these knowledge gaps and advance our understanding of development research priorities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number574
Number of pages12
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Climate change
  • Computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI)
  • Development
  • Multiple household water sources
  • Pacific Island Countries
  • Surveys

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