MCAP questionnaires are developed by the center’s directors with assistance of consultants who possess expertise in particular fields of study (e.g. sociology, psychology, political science, economics). The final version of the questionnaire, which has been pre-tested to ensure reliability and validity, is electronically transferred to MCAP’s computer assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) system. The CATI system assigns interviewers telephone numbers from a list of numbers selected by RBS or RDD, then automatically dials the numbers. Interviewers are guided through each interview by CATI, and the results are compiled in a database shared by all interviewers. The database is available only to the project director.

Telephone interviewing using CATI allows for greater consistency data collection by controlling skip patterns, branches, randomization of items in a battery, sample management, quotas, and other essential elements of an interview. CATI also affords greater opportunities for internal control, since the development and programming of the questionnaires remain under the direct control and supervision of the project director. This ultimately helps to insure that all interviewing procedures and scripts are set-up and implemented in an identical fashion for interviewer.