|Mail surveys used to be the most common survey method. Web surveys became popular during the expansion of Internet access because they are faster and less expensive. Today, mail surveys are used primarily in situations where the postal service is the most reliable way to contact the potential respondents. Paper surveys are also used when you have a captive audience without Internet access (e.g., a conference).|
Nearly all surveys are initially designed using Microsoft Word because it does such a good job of creating a publication quality survey. StatPac doesn't try to reinvent the wheel. We believe that you should continue using Microsoft Word to design the document that respondents will see. However, you will need a way to transfer the respondents' answers from the paper survey to electronic form, and that's where StatPac can help.
We have a great tool for data entry. You'll use it for mail surveys, paper surveys, and telephone interviewing. It's just part of the StatPac survey software package; you don't have to purchase anything extra.
|A data entry form is how respondents' answers are entered into our software. Use our data manager tool to create a form that can be used for data entry. The form can look any way you want, but the best forms look just like the survey itself.|
We've seen people try to use Excel for survey data entry. It works okay for very short surveys with a handful of questions. For longer surveys, Excel doesn't work well at all. It's difficult to keep track of columns and questions. Data entry people spend a lot of the time making sure they're entering data in the right columns of the spreadsheet because the spreadsheet doesn't look like the paper survey itself.
StatPac's data manager tool uses your original Microsoft Word document to create a data entry form that looks like the survey itself. Data entry people will know exactly where they are all the time because the paper survey and the data entry form look the same.
It's pretty easy to design a form because it's very much like working with a word processor. Here's an example of a data entry form while it's being designed.
|CATI or computer assisted telephone interviewing is an expensive method of data collection. It's often used when the researcher believes that the population would not respond to an email or mail survey. CATI is especially valuable when respondents' answers need to be probed with follow-up questions. Sometimes, telephone numbers are the only contact information the researcher has access to.|
Microsoft Word is usually used to write a script for the telephone interviewers. StatPac can use the Word document to create a data entry form that has the script, special instructions to the telephone interviewers, and fields for entering the responses. It's basically the same as a data manager form, except it's enhanced with instructions and text for the interviewers.
|The data manager is used to create the form, and it's also used to actually enter the respondents' data. An easy interface and a screen layout that looks like the survey itself makes data entry intuitive.|
Data entry has validity checking and branching. Validity checking verifies that the entered data doesn't contain invalid characters, is within a predetermined range, or matches one of the possible response choices. Branching skips over a question or group of questions if the entered data meets a set of criteria.
Advancing from question to question is automatic; you don't have to press enter or tab after entering each field... and that's a huge time and cost savings! Entering data with StatPac requires only half number of the keystrokes that would be needed to enter the same data using Excel. Data entry companies estimate cost on the number of keystrokes required, so you know this means big savings.
Here's an example of a data entry screen during data entry:
|Most telephone interviews are done by a group of simultaneous interviewers (a phone bank) and most data for large paper surveys is entered by a team of data entry people. A StatPac single-user license only allows one user to enter and edit data.|
For applications where you need many simultaneous interviewers or data entry people, we've taken our data manager and separated it out from the main package. It's compact and simple to install on the computers that your data entry people will use. You can purchase a license for unlimited installations for a small cost.