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Ci3 Tech

Here are some answers to a couple of questions our users have submitted about the Ci3 software.

A Simpler Way to Conduct Multi-Lingual Studies

Most Ci3 users use the ALTERNATE command to branch to different versions (i.e. languages) of the same questionnaire. The typical process is for respondents to specify what language to use in an opening question. The ALTERNATE command then loads different versions of the questionnaire (each from separate .QST files). The data are saved within the same .DAT file initially, but are split into different data files after the data have been accumulated and consolidated. Different data sets often lead to different conversion layouts (even if all of the questions were identical) depending on a number of issues that we won't go into here. The bottom line is that if you want the data from different versions of the questionnaire to end up in a single data set with a common conversion layout, there is an easier option.

Rather than branching to separate questionnaires using ALTERNATE, you can create a single interview that uses conditional logic and GET statements to display one set of interview text or another. Consider an interview with ten questions: Q1 to Q10 for which we want to interview in both English and Spanish. We could format the questionnaire with 20 questions in this order:

  • Q1 to Q10 (questions with the default English text)
  • Q1S to Q10S (corresponding dummy questions with Spanish text and PAUSE 0 instructions)

Suppose for each respondent we initially had a variable called VERSION where 1 = English and 2 = Spanish. As the first instruction for Q1, we'd specify:

	IF (VERSION = 2) GET Q1S

This tells Ci3 to display the text from Q1S (the Spanish version of Q1) if the respondent needed to see Spanish text. For Q2, we'd substitute Q2S for Spanish, etc. As the last instruction in Q10, we'd place an ENDQUEST so that the dummy questions at the bottom of the questionnaire (which were only used to supply alternate text) were never seen or processed.

This solution seems quite simple, but we haven't yet dealt with constructed lists. Most developed interviews require the use of constructed lists and list operations. We'd suggest placing the English list items in separate predefined lists (between LIST-ENDLIST instructions) from the Spanish items. Then, you can create the customized (either English or Spanish) constructed list on the fly using the APPEND command. During data processing, each question that used constructed lists will require some recoding to collapse the separate English and Spanish items into common codes.

Notes on the Use of Fonts in Ci3

We often receive questions regarding the use of fonts in Ci3. There are indeed many detailed issues. Many of you will recall that Ci3 originally was a DOS-based application supporting a 25x80 character display. In the DOS days, painting text on the screen was a much simpler matter. Twenty-five lines and 80 columns were available for text, where each typed character corresponded to a column. Text, colors or boxes could be placed on the screen by defining the line and column coordinates.

With the release of Ci3 for Windows, the assumptions of the 25x80 character display are maintained for backwards compatibility with DOS questionnaires. Text, graphics and lines are still placed on the screen using a 25x80 grid. But Ci3 for Windows lets users specify different point sizes and supports proportional fonts such as Arial, where the widths of the characters can vary. While using different fonts and point sizes dresses up the look of a questionnaire, it makes the characters no longer fit the 25x80 layout.

Fonts and point sizes can be controlled by the following commands in Ci3:

  • DEFFONT (sets default font used throughout the interview)
  • T: (lets you set the font and point size for the current question's text. It overrides any DEFFONT statement.)
  • SHOWFONT (sets the font used for the current question for text controlled by SHOW, SHOWLIST and SELECT. It overrides any DEFFONT statement.)

The default font and point size in Ci3 Windows interviews maps to the 25x80 character display. In other words, the width of a character is 1/80th the width of the screen. If you use the default font and point size, you should have no problem highlighting words within sentences (using the COLOR command) or in placing words on the screen at an exact place (using the SHOW statement). Regardless of the screen resolution (e.g. 640x480, 800x600), the text will always be located in the same relative position on the screen.

If you change the point size or use a proportional font such as Arial or Times, matters are complicated. For example, column number 20 no longer necessarily corresponds with the 20th character (letter) on that line. Furthermore, you'll find that by changing screen resolution, the text can shift around on the screen. Thus, if you don't have control over the PCs running the interview, you will want to view your questionnaires under various resolutions to make sure everything is displayed acceptably. Another alternative is to set the preferred resolution of the interview, by specifying it during the field disk creation process.

It is possible to change the font in the middle of an interview in which the default font was something different. This is useful if you need to have the characters map exactly to the 80-column layout for a particular section of your survey. You can do this on a question-by-question basis by specifying either "Ci3 Default" (ANSI) or "Ci3v20 Default" (ASCII) (these font names are case sensitive) in a T: or SHOWFONT statement.

The Ci3 Windows default font and questionnaire editor present characters in ANSI mode. If you are specifying Spanish characters such as the "ñ" symbol, you can access that character by typing "Alt-0241" (hold down the Alt key while typing 0241 using the number pad). An ANSI character map is available in Windows programs. Under Windows 98 (standard installation), you can access the ANSI character map by clicking Start | Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Character Map and then by choosing "System" as the font.

Sometimes you may have received a translation (say, in Spanish) from a translation agency where the text was provided in an ASCII font. The special extended character set for ASCII is different from ANSI (choose "Terminal" font in the Windows Character Map to see the ASCII character map). When you paste ASCII text into Ci3 (default ANSI mode) and compile the questionnaire, the characters will be mapped to their ANSI counterparts and will not look correct. For example, the ANSI character "ñ" maps to the ASCII character "±". One solution is to interview in DOS mode (using DOSQUE.EXE) because the DOS questionnaire program interprets the characters in ASCII mode. If you need to interview in Windows mode (WINQUE.EXE) and use the ASCII character map, you can specify the "Ci3v20 Default" font (this font name is case sensitive). Another solution to convert ASCII text to ANSI text is to open the file with your word processing package, and then re-save the file as a text (or ANSI text) file. Your word processor will convert the ASCII codes to their appropriate ANSI counterparts. In Microsoft Word, make sure your "Confirm Conversion at Open" option is checked, under View | Options | General.