Listen to audio audit file in HQ/Supervisor

Use case: For certain surveys–maybe, in particular, the CATI ones done during the current COVID-19 pandemic–listening to the interview is an important quality assurance task (even if audio audit only captures what the interviewer says). To make that task easier, allow HQ/supervisors to listen to audio files in the interview review interface.

Implementation ideas:

  • Click button(s) to play audio file(s)
  • Limitations: web only (i.e., not Supervisor Android app)

Current work-around: The following process

  • Download binary data
  • Find file for a given interview
  • Play it

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Thanks Arthur. I second this feature suggestion. It would:

  1. simplify the set-up of QA systems using audio audits (and for what we have learnt so far, using audio audits is highly recommendable)

  2. Facilitate audio auditors work flow, as they can listen to the audio of the interview while being able to look at the interview and the interviewer responses, and are able to respond to supervisor level questions, all from within the same interface. Using different applications makes this harder.

For 2. to be possible, the buttons to play /pause audio and to select the audio file would have to be in a part of the interface that is visible in any section and if scrolling down, e.g. in the header of the interview.

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This is a great idea and hope it will be available on SS soon.

This is crucial in very sensitive questions or sections for example sexual aggression. The idea is for this sections to be self administered by the respondent, meaning that interviewer give respondent the earphone, respondent will listen to the questions and answer directly on CAPI. It will be good to design the questionnaire with a play button on those questions (in the tablet interface with no questions appear on the interface) with instruction on how to answer on audio when press to play. The question will not show up on the screen, only on the audio through earphone, such a way respondent will be more comfortable to answer.

  1. This has nothing to do with the discussion in this thread. It’s an entirely different feature.

  2. From your description it seems that this reduces the interviewer to a tablet holder.
    Conduct a CAWI survey with self-enumeration then.

  3. This is possible now, but will give the respondent the false impression that the interviewer will not know their answers (and for that reason I wouldn’t advise doing that) while they will (simply by replaying the same questions already after leaving the respondent’s household). Trying to prevent them from knowing would be like creating an entirely new application.

  4. What do you do with validations?

  5. What do you do with respondents who are deaf?

  6. Is there any software that is providing this feature?

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Thanks Sergiy

For example a survey on violence and the last module is about sexual aggression. This module will have to be self administered by the respondent herself, meaning that we will give her the earphone, she will listen to the questions and answer directly on CAPI. The question will not show up on the screen, only on the audio through earphone, such a way she will be more comfortable to answer. A play button on the CAPI question interface can do this if it is possible. Respondent can also be a selected member.

Let’s create a separate post for this feature request–basically for doing audio computer-assisted self interview (ACASI in the survey methodlogy literature).

In answer to @sergiy’s question 5, here’s what I turned up after a quick search:

  • ODK offers audio questions. See this post and follow the link for implementation.
  • CSPro offers this via calling another application to play. Here’s what I found. There may be other/more elegant solutions.
  • Blaise supports playing audio/ACASI. See more here.
  • Surveybe seems to offer audio. See short description under the “Multi-Media Functoins” here.
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This actually already can be implemented in Survey Solutions. In the designer you can upload an attachment with audio content, then add a static text at link it with attachment where you need interviewer to be able to play it.


Then user will be able to listen to it during interview (both using web mode and tablet). Add questions below that static text for respondent to answer while listening.

Coming back to the original topic, I would like to restate that it would be very helpful if one could listen to the audio auditing recordings directly from the supervisor/HQ interface within an interview. Over the past few months we have used random audio auditing as part of the quality control assurance in a number of COVID phone surveys. It has proven itself to be extremely helpful, I would even say indispensable to the quality assurance of a decentralized phone surveys with interviewers working from home.

The current use of audio recordings is very cumbersome and probably prevents the use of audio audits:

  • Exporting of audio files takes very long (!) and often brakes when using the zip/download export ot API. I am usually exporting to dropbox now. Unfortunately this also takes a lot of time, as new audio files are not automatically pushed to the dropbox folder. Exporting audio files for some 200 interviews can take over an hour. We need to export on a daily basis to be able to audit recent files.

  • Audio files have to be sent to supervisors in an other app, e.g. using dropbox. It makes it cumbersome to manage. Depending on the set up, audio files first have to be downloaded and then uploaded to e.g. dropbox. This is quite demanding on the internet in low connectivity settings, and prevents people from using audio auditing.

The ability to play audio auditing recordings from within the file would make life a lot (!) easier:

  • Daily exporting of the audio files is not necessary. You can export at the end of the survey once to have the recordings.

  • No need to set-up and manage an external app/service to share and play the audio files.

  • Much less stress on the network: Only those who want to audit a file have to stream the audio. Nobody needs to download/upload all files.

  • All in one interface: We have been using supervisor questions for auditors to keep note of issues they have identified when auditing an interview. They need to see the answers that have been recorded to do an effective audit, so it makes sense to overlay a set of supervisor questions onto the actual questionnaire. Having the audio play button in the same questionnaire they would have everything within Survey Solutions in one place.

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