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Field management

Case management

Sometimes, data must be accessed on a case-by-case basis to look up responses, to correct them or to code open-ends. CallWeb offers cwNav to do just that. A call to cwNav (which stands for Navigate) is done via the integrated interface by providing the project name in the "Display data" section of the cw module.

The cwNav tool displays a menu to select cases and to select a subset of questions to display. Provided the right access codes are provided, the interface offers two ways to delete cases, three to view a case individually and three to open a case for editing.

Mass editing

Of particular significance is the mass editing mode that is activated by making the proper selection in the options menu. In mass editing mode, all displayed fields of all displayed cases are editable directly in a grid-like format. This could be particularly useful to display open-ended responses and a series of open-ended coding variables to perform a content analysis of the textual responses.

In mass edit mode, if _res (the most recent call result) is selected for editing, a new line appears in the menu. It offers the possibility of changing all existing _res values among selected cases to a new value. A dropdown list of possible _res codes is offered. If one of these codes is selected, all cases with _res values within the scope of the case selection are changed to that chosen value.

If a multiple-response question is edited in boxed mass edit mode, different values can be separated by commas or spaces. CallWeb edits the data upon Action! to delimit the values using "μ" characters. This is useful to code open-ended questions.

Reapplying CALCUL questions

cwNav also allows to reapply CALCUL questions (that is, to compute or recompute a calculation) on existing cases. After possibly identifying the cases to use in the operation using the case-selection portion of the menu, select a CALCUL question from the appropriate drop down list in the cwNAV interface (this feature is only available if the write-access password has already been supplied, if one is defined) and click Action!. Then key in the "UPDATE" keyword (upper case) and click Action! again.

Technical note: when reapplying CALCUL questions using cwnav.cgi, system variables (with names starting with an underscore) from the case data (such as _prepops and _h1) must be capitalized in the CALCULations (which is not the case in the CALCULations which take place during the performance of the questionnaire). One way around this issue for CALCUL questions which are intended to be used in cwnav.cgi as well as in the regular CallWeb context is to double up the name of the field and to put an "or" bar between the two as in $_prepops|$_PREPOPS. In Perl parlance, this means "use $_prepops if it exists, otherwise use $_PREPOPS".

Assigning values based on calculated expressions

This module also includes the ability to assign values to a variable based on a MySQL expression. Any field in the data base can be reassigned. Any type of assignment may be performed as long as the syntax of the expression is legitimate from MySQL's point of view and as long as the result of the expression conforms to the selected field data type. The following rules apply:

  • only cases identified by the selection criteria (at the top of the utility menu) are affected by the assignment;
  • the two parameters which specify a range of data base records to deal with ("Start from record no." and "Number of records to use") are NOT used in performing this operation;
  • once a target variable is selected (on the "Update using MySQL" line in the interface) and a MySQL expression is entered, and after activation with the Action button, the system displays the ensuing assignment expression and requests confirmation via a keyword; the keyword is "UPDATE" (upper case).
  • remember that the normal fields in the data base (non open-end parts) are stored as 16-byte character fields; MySQL allows mathematical operations on such fields (which are converted from character to numeric on the fly). Open-end parts (fields prefixed with A) are 64,000-byte character fields.

For example, it is possible to assign to AQ2 a value that is twice that of AQ1 with the following expression: AQ1*2. Also as an example, this operation could be performed only on cases where AQ2 is larger than 10 by making the proper selection in the options menu.

Use of this feature should be left to exceptional circumstances as the control of the assignment rests entirely with the user; none of the normal CallWeb data validation procedures are applied.


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