- General capabilities
- Questionnaire design
- Study management
1. General Capabilities
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- Questionnaire flow control, established through skip instructions, allows for great complexity and is easy to implement.
- Interviewers can easily back up to previously answered questions to change a response. CASES will enforce the logical path, retain all previously entered answers, and re-execute all appropriate instructions to ensure that any calculated values are brought up to date.
- CASES provides several options for producing clean data, including automatic checks for completion and removal of any responses that are no longer appropriate.
- CASES provides protection against data loss in the event of a power failure or system crash while interviewing is in progress.
- Because survey organizations have different needs, CASES can enforce a rigid path through the instrument or permit designer-controlled options for completing sections out of sequence.
- Interviewer navigation within the instrument is simplified via a customizable jump menu which displays the eligible targets.
- To allow further customization of data collection procedures, CASES permits execution of external programs any time during an interview.
- Studies can include rosters in data structures with multiple hierarchies. In a rostered instrument, questions are written once and cycled over as needed. For example, all or only selected persons in a household can automatically be asked the same questions.
- CASES provides support for up to nine concurrent languages, for multi-language studies.
- Alphabetic responses can be defined and stored as numeric data. For example, interviewers might enter D for a Don't know response, but the value stored in the data could be -1.
- Interviewers can add notes at any time while in a case, for later review or post-interview processing.
- Audio-CASI (Computer-Assisted Survey Interviewing) capabilities allow audio files to be played when a question is reached, so that the instrument can speak to the respondent.
- Special procedures to handle missing data values allow logical and mathematical operations to treat such values appropriately. These procedures allow better control of data types when generating output for statistical programs.
- Simple procedures for interruption and resumption of interviews make call-backs easy to handle.
- CASES is frequently used for small or simple studies, but also utilized for large and complex studies including those conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census.
- Random numbers can be generated during the interview to facilitate randomization of questions and/or answer categories, as well as other randomization needs.
- The option for cursor auto-advance, where the cursor will automatically advance to the next field if the answer fills the full width of the field, can be used for data entry applications.
2. Questionnaire Design
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- The designer has complete control over question sequencing, presentation, and screen design. Among the features are screen colors, bold, and user-defined windows (including simultaneously displayed windows).
- Complete screen design flexibility permits everything from simple questions to complex forms with multiple answer fields and free cursor movement.
- Responses can be open-ended text, fixed length fields, precoded categories, or any combination of these three.
- A CASES questionnaire can be designed to accept or reject responses based on pre-defined criteria.
- Help or reference screens can be linked to specific questions or response codes, and then be made available to the interviewer with a user-defined key.
- Logical expressions can be used to control complex conditional text, answer fields and displays, giving the instrument designer powerful tools to address almost any need.
- Designer-controlled information can be displayed from previously answered questions so the interviewer does not have to search backwards or rely on memory.
- The designer can modify the wording of a question to fit the current respondent so interviewers can ask personalized questions.
- Date variables make it easy to manipulate dates or extract month and day names from a date (in four languages).
3. Study Management
- Interviewing tasks may be distributed among separate computers (e.g., laptops) for data collection, then combined into a central database for processing. The data is easily transferable between different sites and/or operating systems and/or archived for storage.
- Existing information can be pre-loaded into a database for use during the interview. This can include telephone numbers, time zone codes or data collected previously in a multiple wave study.
- An automatic case delivery system allows cases to be prioritized or scheduled for interviewers based on pre-defined parameters.
- A unique zero record for each case stores study management data (i.e. interviewer ID number, call-back dates and times, and outcome codes) in a separate file from actual data.
- Users can query and sort cases by selected variables for common study management tasks.
- Data can be quickly output in ASCII format for use in any statistical analysis program. The user controls the layout and content of the output.
- Timing variables can be used for a variety of management purposes, including calculation of elapsed time of interview.
CSM Program, Institute for Scientific Analysis
725 El Cerrito Plaza
El Cerrito, CA 94530-9701