Option to display variable name in interviewer

interviewer
(Lutz) #1

Dear Survey Solutions team,

When interviewers need to know something about one question, it can sometimes take a while to figure out which question they are referring to. This is especially the case when similar questions appear in the questionnaire (e.g. if collecting gender disaggregated data or crop specific data).
It would be very helpful if the interviewer could retrieve the variable name to speed up that process.
My suggestion would be to either put it into the options of the interviewer and tester apps or to make the variable name visible when opening the comment option (by pressing on the question name for a while).

I could also add the variable name into the question text but this would create additional work when copying or shifting questions.

Best regards!

(Aelvirr) #2

Hi friend,

You can do this option, writting like this %NameVariable%

(Lutz) #3

Hello @aelvirr,

Thanks for your answer. However, I think this is not what I am looking for.

I assume that you suggest to add %NameVariable% to every Question text. This has two disadvantages:

  1. It could not be turned off. I would be better if it can just be looked up when needed. This would keep the screen “cleaner”.
  2. The term would also appear in the Excel file for the translations. This would add to confusions for the person who is doing the translation (and is usually not an expert in Survey Solutions).

Apart from this it would be quite a work burden to add the term to every question text.

For those reasons, I think another option to access the variable name would be preferential.

(Sergiy Radyakin) #4

Hello Lutz,

There is no such option in Survey Solutions. The reason is that it exposes the under the hood details of the questionnaire implementation to the interviewer (in CAPI) or respondent (in CAWI). It is the same reason your web-banking system doesn’t elaborate on the names of the underlying SQL database fields when you fill out a transfer form. (If it does, please attach a screenshot).

I have earlier diacussed this with the team in the context of the Tester app, where this does make sense to pinpoint the feedback to a particular location, but not for the interviever app. For the tester this is not considered a priority at this moment, but you can, probably, upvote it.

In practice, if an interviewer experiences any special situation with a question, she may leave a comment regarding it. All such comments are tagged with varnames for the hq personnel to act on.

Now, you wrote “When interviewers need to know something about one question, it can sometimes take a while to figure out which question they are referring to.”

Please elaborate what does the above mean in Survey Solutions’ context.

Best, Sergiy

(Lutz) #5

Hello Sergiy,

Thanks for your explanation. I did not consider that displaying the variable name might cause a security risk. Does this imply that handing out pdf versions of the questionnaire would expose me to the same risk?

To your question:

Now, you wrote “When interviewers need to know something about one question, it can sometimes take a while to figure out which question they are referring to.”

For example, we have an agricultural questionnaire that has sections for vegetable production in general, brassicas (e.g. Pak choy), and yard long bean. Additionally, we have a second level where we collect information on the last production cycle for each of the crops. We have questions asking for the production area for three seasons in each section, as well as one question for the production cycles, i.e. up to 11 similar questions in total. These questions have slightly differing validation questions.
When an enumerator calls me and asks me why she sees an error it can take a moment for her to clearly describe the question she is working on. This is even more the case when there is a language barrier.
In the time of paper questionnaires, we just printed the number of the question next to it and could find the question directly, avoiding misunderstandings.

I hope this explains what I am referring to.
I can live without this, but it would be a handy tool for some surveys.

Best,

Lutz

(Sergiy Radyakin) #6

It depends. Suppose your questionnaire contains some logic trying to detect interviewer fraud. By exposing this to the interviewers through the PDF document (which has all the logic exposed) you are reducing the efficiency of these measures. There are other similar circumstances. This may or may not be applicable to your case of which I have little knowledge.

Regarding the problem you are trying to solve,

  1. it is quite common to assign unique numbers to all error messages, so that the exact message may be identified. Survey Solutions uses the same approach, see for example: https://support.mysurvey.solutions/headquarters/preloading/errors-in-user-supplied-files-for-preloading/
    Clearly the error numbers must be the same in any language so that you can easily find it in the questionnaire in your language when you respond to such inquiries.

  2. you can now include hyperlinks into error messages pointing to a particular section (you can have a section “detailed errors interpretation”) or say, to a PDF attachment of the interviewers’ manual with explanations.

  3. It is not completely possible to eliminate confusion, but a good training would go over all error messages and possibly hand to interviewers a compendium of all errors for checks conducted in the questionnaire with explanation of what is being checked and how to react to a certain error message.

In the time of paper questionnaires, we just printed the number of the question next to it

This is still possible. You can still include a question number, such as 1) , 2) or [s5q17] in the text of the question.

Regards, Sergiy