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Field management

Initiation of a project

Required pound statements

In addition to the definition of questions, a CallWeb questionnaire script must include the following three pound statements:

  • # Available languages = LA,LA,LA,...
    This statement lists the languages that are defined in the questionnaire, using 2-letter ISO codes (EN for English, FR for French, ES for Spanish); CallWeb reports every instance of missing text segments based on this list.
  • # Default language = LA
    This statement identifies the language which is displayed by default if no language is stated upon calling a CallWeb tool; it uses a 2-letter ISO code.
  • # Survey type = (one of the following codes)
    This statement determines the type of data collection.
    • Open = fully open, no provision of an access code (was 1)
    • Closed = controlled access; the data base must be prepopulated (was 2)
    • Open Combination = fully open; a user id and a password are selected by the participant (was 3)
    • Open Offered = fully open, provision of an access code for resuming (was 5)
    • Password = controlled access; the data base must be prepopulated; the _password field contains the changeable password (was 7). A cookbook recipe describes this system in detail.

Physical installation of the questionnaire script file

The physical installation of a CallWeb project requires that the questionnaire script file:

  • bears a .scw extension (lower case); CallWeb considers all .scw files as questionnaires;
  • be located on a Web server in a directory whose name starts with "cw" and be located one level under the directory where the callweb program is located (the directory must be owned by the user under which the Apache server runs or offer read-write-execute permissions to the world — check with your system administrator);
  • be accompanied by a file named "style.css", in the same directory as the questionnaire script file; this cascading style sheet file controls certain aspects of the formatting of the questionnaire; all projects in a directory share the style.css file; projects located in different directories prefixed with "cw" can use different style.css files.

Each CallWeb project creates the following files:

  • project.qcw
    a compiled version of the questionnaire for fast access.
  • especially named MySQL database
    the data base of answers provided; it may contain a series of empty records if it was prepopulated with data by the project manager prior to initiating the field work.

Questionnaire compilation

Once a questionnaire is sufficiently complete (still subject to tests and modifications) and uploaded to the Web server, the cw script is used to activate various functions.

Compilation requires the script name. Six options are available:

  • Structural change
    This box must be selected if the project data structure changes with the new script; data structure changes are:
    • the addition/deletion of a question
    • the addition/deletion of an open-end part
    • the transformation of a single-answer question into a multiple-answer question or vice versa
    • moving questions in the questionnaire
  • Details
    This checkbox activates the display of detailed compilation messages.
  • Test
    The "test" checkbox may be selected to request a test compilation without changes to the existing compiled questionnaire or to the existing response data base.
  • Beautify scw
    With this box checked, the system produces a new version of the .scw file with "percent" lines labelled and indentation inserted to facilitate reading.
  • History
    Displays the compilation history for the project.
  • Copy
    Initiates the copy of the .qcw file to another server.

The compilation produces a wealth of information which should be studied carefully. Compilation errors are highlighted using the .ERREUR style found in the style.css file and located at the top of the compilation report.

If compilation errors are found, no change is made to the compiled questionnaire or to the response data base.

Compilation may also produce "warnings". Warning messages are elements of information of particular interest that are not errors per se but that could potentially be considered problematic. They include:

Questionnaire comparison

cwCompare can be used to help identify the structural differences between two versions of the same questionnaire. Both versions must be compiled and reside on the same server. cwCompare does not compare the text of the questionnaire — only the structural components (skips, question types, etc.).

Data prepopulation

Once the questionnaire has compiled without error, data may be forced into the data base. This is called prepopulating the data base. This must be used to create access codes in fully controlled data collections. Prepopulation can also be used to insert information about people who will complete the questionnaire, in a controlled-access context; these data can then be used in the course of the data collection.

Prepopulation can be done on an empty CallWeb data base or cases may be added to an existing data base.

Prepopulation data are supplied in a file with the following characteristics:

  • the file name must bear an extension starting with a "t", such as "prepop.tab";
  • ANSI file;
  • one record per case;
  • fields are tab-delimited;
  • the first line of the file lists the variables in the prepopulation file according to the question name in the questionnaire script; names are tab-delimited; fields using names that are not used in the questionnaire script are ignored;
  • the case identification code (called _telkey in CallWeb) must be present in the prepopulation file; it may contain letters, numbers and the underscore character — any other character is stripped out from the imported value as well as from the value supplied to start the questionnaire (such that, say, a telephone number with parentheses and dashes could be supplied as an identification code and it would survive the deletion of inadmissible characters);
  • it is possible to add comments to the prepop file by starting them with a comment string (##).

This file must be uploaded to the Web server and located in the same directory as the questionnaire script file for the project.

To assure the preservation of prepopulated data in all circumstances (include case reinitialization), use the NEVERUPDATE keyword on the question name line of the questions in which data are imported.

In the cw integrated interface, cwprepop can be called by selecting the project name and the name of the tab-delimited data file from drop-down lists.

The cwprepop module can also be used to add data into existing cases (or replace existing data) if the "replace variables" button is selected instead of the "add cases" button in the cw interface. In this context, a value of "--" does not replace the pre-existing value.

Generation of random test data

Once the questionnaire has compiled without error, test data can be randomly generated to verify that the logical conditions of the script work as expected. The script cwgen performs this function. It can be used in two manners:

  • if the project data base is empty (no data was pre-populated or created via questionnaires), cwgen (called from the integrated module cw) accepts, as argument, the number of questionnaires to create;
  • if the project data base is not empty, cwgen requests confirmation of the operation using the destruction keyword and proceeds to re-generate all questionnaires in the data base while respecting pre-populated data.

Each question in the questionnaire is scanned for each case and a random answer is selected for close-ended questions and for open-end parts. Skips, calculations, no-answer questions, etc. are honoured; matrix texts and Test pound instructions are not — and a list of these oversights is produced upon completing the random generation of data.

CallWeb aborts the random generation process if it reaches what appears to be an infinite loop.


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