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Data Collection

Computer-assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI)

ISR occupies 12,000 feet of newly renovated space in the Entertainment and Community Education Center (ECEC building located on Temple University's Main Campus. Our call center has 35 production stations expandable to 45, for telephone interviewing, Web support, inbound call handling, and tracing operations. It is located in a controlled-access environment, ensuring the strict security of all data collection, and operates 7 days a week.

The Institute uses state-of-the-art technology to facilitate data collection and management. The Institute's call center is networked with high speed connections; allowing interviewing stations to be monitored remotely. ISR has been using Computer-Assisted Survey Execution System CASES software for CATI and direct data entry since 1986, and for CAPI since 1992. Currently, ISR uses the latest versions both 5.5 and 6 beta of CASES that support both CATI/CAPI data collection modes developed by the Survey Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. The CASES software package supports varying levels of survey complexity. The Institute continues to make advancements in optimizing cost efficiency and reducing survey error, such as the modeling and construction of algorithms for call scheduling in random-digit-dialed landline telephone surveys.

Computer-assisted In-person Interviewing (CAPI)

ISR fielded one of the first national CAPI surveys in July 1992. Over 300 CAPI trained interviewers conducted more than 15,000 CAPI interviews for the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH). ISR continues to utilize its CAPI capabilities and experience to serve the needs of studies requiring face-to-face interviewing. The Institute has trained a national staff of more than two thousand interviewers, resident in their respective communities throughout the United States, who have been trained by, and work for ISR on a continual basis. During each study, every interviewer's work is reviewed and, at the conclusion of the study, the interviewer is rated for field performance and quality of data collected. Ratings become part of the interviewer's employee record; only those interviewers whose work meets ISR's standards are retained. This results in continuous upgrading of the field staff.

ISR maintains an inventory of mobile devices used to administer questionnaires of varying complexity allowing the interviewer to concentrate on other details like the proper use of visual aids and rapport with the respondent.

Self-administered Questionnaires

Web Surveys

ISR utilizes both CASES and Qualtrics for web surveys. Using both programs maximize cost efficiencies while maintaining quality interviewer-respondent interaction. CASES Web QA extends the capabilities of its core CATI/CAPI package with the ability to administer Version 5 CASES instruments as web surveys over the Internet through a browser interface. With this architecture, data can be collected for a single CASES study simultaneously using traditional CASES CATI/CAPI procedures (the Windows client), and via the Web. In other words, a single survey instrument can be authored in CASES 5 for execution in both a CATI call center and over the Web.

The Qualtrics online survey tool is a web-based, self-authoring tool. It enables anyone on ISR's research team or the client to build, send and analyze non-complex surveys. The result of this client option minimizes web survey development costs freeing the client to focus on research rather than web development.

Data Entry, Coding & Validation

Data verification will be "heads-down" direct data entry from the returned survey, followed by the re-entry or verification of the data. Using the “heads-down” approach, data entry and verification from the paper questionnaire will be done in two separate and specialized steps:

  1. Initial entry for verification
  2. Verification

Any discrepancies between the inputs of the two sessions are displayed and resolved during the verification session. In verify mode, the answers entered in the initial entry session are compared with the answers entered in the verify session for that case. If there is a difference between the two inputs, the verifier is provided with the option to resolve the discrepancy through an interactive review process.

Respondent Tracking and Tracing

The institute for Survey Research has over 40 years of experience tracing respondents for longitudinal studies and list sample. ISR customizes tracing strategies on a per project basis. Using the demographic profile, data collected during survey administration, and supplemental information obtained from known data sources, ISR tracks each respondent. Tracing customization includes age appropriate online searches such as social network sites for younger respondents and property records information for older respondents. ISR can implement tracing measures into any budget, at any research phase and method of data collection. ISR also offers tracking services outside of data collection.

Because the age of the tracing information directly effects its' cost and accuracy, ISR preemptively tracks respondents by periodically updating contact information. This is the initial cost-effective approach used prior to more aggressive strategies.

Telephone tracing
ISR telephone tracing begins in data collection. Our Computer Assisted Survey Execution System records call history of respondents and their contacts. The system records interviewer notes, call records and address information. Once a case enters the tracing queue, tracing coordinators review the information and contact all available respondent phone numbers, friends, relatives, and neighbors. Tracing coordinators also use reverse directories to obtain telephone information for previous respondent address information.

Advance tracing
Tracing Coordinators use nationwide databases to locate subjects who have died or relocated. ISR uses the National Death Index and prison database searches to verify availability. ISR also uses comprehensive tracing strategies to confirm newly obtained information from multiple sources.

Database searching
ISR uses free and subscription access to multiple nationwide databases to obtain current contact information. Those databases include but are not limited to the U.S. Postal Service National Change of Address database credit bureaus, state Department of Motor Vehicle records, and other directory searches. ISR also uses comprehensive tracing strategies to confirm newly obtained information from multiple sources.

Field tracing
Field interviewers are trained to establish rapport with respondents, relatives, neighbors, associates, and everyone encountered in the field. Field Interviewers are trained to take detailed notes of their surroundings and pursue all leads. Field coordinators confirm leads and give detailed instructions for the appropriate actions.