Sawtooth Software: The Survey Software of Choice

SSI Web Hints and Updates

We hope things are going well with our web interviewing users. As usual, if you need any help, please give us a call or Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Here is a list of SSI Web "odds and ends" you might find useful.

Free Update from 3.0 and 3.1 to Our Latest Version 3.2

We strongly encourage you to use our latest version, which includes the following improvements:

  • Often, during data collection, you need to additional passwords. You can now add new passwords while data collection is in progress, without any ill side effects.
  • Export data can now use any variable as the case identifier. This is useful, for example, when exporting conjoint data and matching the records to another data set that uses a case identifier "passed in" through a linked survey.
  • Open-end text fields are no longer limited to just 999 characters. The number of characters per open-end question can be as high as 10,000.

Test the Survey before Going Live

Sometimes, amid pressure from clients and deadlines, we forget to test the survey carefully before going live. A careful test of the survey, including accumulating, downloading, and exporting the data can help prevent costly mistakes. Remember to reset your survey prior to going live (to delete practice respondents). Here are some testing tips:

  • Include some test passwords you can use to test your survey after it has gone live (you might want to test the web server performance during data collection).
  • Placing %%debug% in the global header or footer of your survey inserts some extra comments to help you debug your survey. This is especially useful when testing skip logic, as it will show you the page number on each screen. After debugging, remove the %%debug%.
  • Test a variety of entries from your password list to ensure they are working correctly.
  • Test the survey using different web browsers, including older versions.
  • Test the error messages, making sure they are working and you are satisfied with the displayed message.

Using SSI Web on a Stand-Alone Computer for "CAPI" Style Interviewing

If you have ever used "Local Web" to test your surveys, you know that you can take an SSI Web survey without having a connection to the internet. Using this same technology, one could administer an SSI Web survey on a laptop without an internet connection. Some of our customers are currently fielding studies this way. You can download a SSI Web CAPI setup from www.sawtoothsoftware.com/ssiweb_extras/capi_ssiweb.html. Please read the README.txt for instructions. This setup will allow you to administer SSI Web surveys without having to install the full SSI Web authoring system.

Authoring Tips

  • Did you know you can save/print all of your attributes and levels in an easy-to-read HTML format? This can then be passed to your clients for review. On the Attributes dialog, simply click File + Save Attributes to HTML.
  • Another useful feature is the ability to copy and paste questions across studies. For example if you have a demographic question that you ask in every survey, you can reuse it by copying it into another survey. In fact you could keep a "library" survey in which you store commonly-used questions. To copy a question, highlight the question (or multiple questions, by holding down the Shift or Ctrl key as you click) in the question list of the Write Questionnaire dialog. Then, click the Edit menu (located in the upper left-hand corner of the Write Questionnaire dialog) and select Copy. Close the study (making sure not to close SSI Web) and open your target study. Finally, click Write Questionnaire in the new study, highlight the question on this list after which you want the new questions to be inserted, and select Edit + Paste.

New JavaScript and CSS Example Survey Available

For adventurous users, at www.sawtoothsoftware.com/webbran.shtml we have added a new example study that demonstrates the use of JavaScript and CSS within an SSI Web study. You can even download the study and open it with your SSI Web program to look through the examples, which include:

  • How to add "Pop-up" help.
  • How to perform a calculation on a response and store the result in the data file.
  • How to use custom JavaScript verification in conjunction with a grid question.
  • How to implement "Other Specify."
  • How CSS can be used to control the style of your web survey.