The CADAS system includes all elements necessary for Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI), including organizational, methodological, monitoring and IT components.
Questionnaires are designed in a graphical interface. This relieves the researcher from having to deal with technical issues, which are not content-related. The system enables preparing the content of a survey, validating questionnaires, and checking the progress in real time. Since partial results are available from the moment the first interview has been completed, it is possible to conduct a preliminary analysis of the data and quickly make necessary changes.
All content consultants can quickly and easily test the correctness of the content and logic of the questionnaire and quickly apply patches if necessary.
The system provides access to surveys and their components that have been made available to the customer for approval, and allows making changes to questions. The online result presentation module provides access to partial results during a survey.
The customer can review the progress of the survey and test the questionnaire at any time. Advanced multimedia features for presenting auxiliary materials make surveys more attractive and credible.
The fieldwork coordinator has a rich set of tools that make it easier to supervise field personnel, for example options for reporting the individual progress of interviewers, an integrated communications system, an interviewer network load module, as well as quota and sample allocation options. The system and operating procedures were prepared and tested for both one- and two-stage networks. In the case of a two-stage network, field coordinators have access to data restricted only to their own interviewers' network.
Survey content is developed with an intuitive, object-oriented interface for creating questionnaires, which uses all elements available to web designers. A powerful scripting language allows using attached files, databases and external programming languages. The implemented “Virtual interviewer” mode allows the verification of routing and the validation of the resulting set, before testers and proofreaders are involved.
The organization of the scripter's working environment allows applying quick corrections, even during a survey, without having to pause the execution, although the new version of the survey has to be downloaded to interviewers' workstations.
An application has been built-in to create the stratification at the questionnaire design and survey running levels. The stratification can be translated into the allocation of specific cells or their parts to specific interviewers or teams. Before sending a sample record to an interviewer, the system verifies compliance of the written algorithm with the intended criteria. The stratification can be modified during the survey and information about free stratification cells can be easily shared with interviewers.
The platform is supported by an extensive database management system, which includes:p>
- Options for attaching files with contact details;
- Options for accessing the data and presenting them to interviewers;
- An advanced system for viewing and monitoring the use of contact details, including lists and reports;
- A quota control system which allows building and managing automatically even the most complex quotas;
- The research project administrator's work is supported by a fully automated workflow.
It consists of:
- Transfers between workstations and the server;
- Transfers among research servers if the project is carried out by many teams;
- Archiving research projects;
- Generating resulting sets in the selected output format;
- The administrator can monitor the work of all users as well as profile their tasks and tools available to them. This enables real-time supervision of a research project.
Using the built-in module enables full verification of the interviewing process and the work of interviewers (a preview of the properties of all the answers, playing completed CAPI interviews, a preview of the results, searching for suspect interviews). Ample opportunities are provided for supervision and control over the execution of surveys.
In addition to the standard benefits of computerized monitoring methods, special measures provide immediate verification of the interview process, interviewers' work and sampling:
- The time of each interview;
- The duration of interviews;
- The display duration of support materials;
- The recording of open responses;
- Saving random fragments of interviews.
The more efficient methods of control and monitoring will also enable:
- Access to partial results already uploaded to the server from interviewers' workstations as well as reports;
- A detailed overview of all completed interviews and their properties;
- Recording interviews;
- The platform supports the processing of results by the coding module.
It includes such elements as:
- Coding of text records for closed questions;
- Coding according to multi-level categorizations;
- Easy attaching of coded data to the result database;
- Remote coding by researchers or other users;
- Coding of audio from responses to open-ended questions.
It is possible to create, export and import coding templates, and the system automatically recognizes questions that can be coded. All coded questions are automatically made available in the export options.
The resulting data can be easily transferred to the preferred statistical package standard such as SPSS or Quantum, and extended export options allow the accurate specification of the location, format and manner of representation for each question. For surveys organized in waves, the system automatically adjusts the export structure to the previous wave and shows the differences.
Complete resulting data is already available as the last interview is uploaded to the server. At the same time, thanks to the advanced result reporting and monitoring system, the statistician can rely on the quality of gathered information more than ever before.
Using a web-based platform has many advantages. The system also provides full security of stored data with encrypted access to applications on the Internet and double encryption of data on the server. The tool can be thoroughly tested before the data collection process begins to validate the survey, train the interviewers and prepare procedures for further data processing.
Each user is uniquely identified by their username and password. Each user action in the system is logged and recorded.
Immediately after the first day of a CAPI survey, the system allows access to the partial results for analysis, processing or performance monitoring and the implementation of any changes. The customer can access the results via the Internet using a key and login credentials and with a result viewer that allows a full analysis, recalculation, listing and charting.
All users can perform their work directly on the common database using software components integrated in a single system. The system parameters can be tailored to the specific needs and habits of co-operating teams.
Connections to the platform are encrypted with a 1024-bit key and each successful and unsuccessful access attempt is logged in the database. Even authorized requests for changing the contact database or exporting the results are logged. In order to minimize unauthorized access to data stored in the system, each user working on the CADAS system has access only to selected modules of the platform. With such solutions, CADAS protects results and contact databases from unauthorized access.
The advantage of the CADAS system is a flexible and open architecture that allows gradual extending and upgrading with additional features tailored for the needs of specific customers.
Even though interviewers are closely monitored, they have a wide range of options that make using the system easy. These include:
- An intuitive interviewer's interface;
- Easy, secure and efficient synchronization of the interviewer's workstation with the master server;
- Automatic access to documentation related to the survey;
- Recording the audio of open-ended questions and responses, playing digital music or audio, the playback of video sequences for respondents, and showing photos with programmable display time.
Each interviewer has an interviewing application. Its interface and operation are based entirely on web browser solutions. The application has an associated project management component, called CAPI Management Interface (CMI), which is used to synchronize the interviewer's computer with the server and view survey and interviewers' operating data (the ranking and progress).
The CAPI module is designed for portable computers that connect to the Internet only to upload collected data to the server and to download other surveys.
The CADAS platform also has an invoicing system. An interviewer can log on to the system on his or her computer, generate an invoice or another billing document, and mail it to the headquarters. This module reduces the number of errors in invoices, miscalculated rates and other accounting problems.
CAPI interviewers can book start points at home. Coordinators do not need to do that at the headquarters: employees themselves can decide where they want to go and which location is the closest to them. This eliminates coordinators' mistakes and motivates interviewers, who can select start points themselves.
Interviewers can save their contact data in the system without having to contact the headquarters. This way, managers are less likely to make mistakes, and interviewers' personal data is updated faster.
The application is still being developed and modified, but a CAPI interviewer does not need to worry about it. The system automatically checks the CADAS version on the server and downloads new versions if there is a version incompatibility.