Paper-and-Pencil Studies

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Lighthouse Studio lets you run your MaxDiff studies via Internet, on devices not connected to the Internet (CAPI installation), or as paper-and-pencil questionnaires.  The process of running paper-based MaxDiff studies is very similar to computer-based studies.  You should set up your levels and compose your MaxDiff tasks in the same manner as if you were going to run a computerized study.  


For MaxDiff, you will not have so many different versions of the questionnaire as with computerized interviewing, because that becomes difficult to manage on paper.  Rather than having so many possible versions of the questionnaire, you will create just a few versions (design blocks) of the questionnaire and assign respondents (randomly) to take one of the different questionnaire versions.


With paper-based experiments, one typically uses just a few versions of the questionnaire since each additional questionnaire version adds more administrative hassle.  Researchers often employ between three to eight unique versions of the questionnaire when conducting paper-and-pencil experiments.  One sacrifices a little in terms of design efficiency and control for context and order biases by using just a few versions (relative to the 300 or more versions often employed in computerized interviewing), but the practical impact on quality of results is usually relatively small.  


It is not necessary that the same number of respondents complete each version of the questionnaire, though it is helpful to achieve approximate balance.


Steps for Paper-Based Studies


Generate the Questionnaire:


After you have created the questionnaire and generated the design, save the results to a file using Field | Create Paper & Pencil Interviews.  Your questionnaire is saved in HTML format to a STUDYNAME_EXERCISENAME_V#.htm file, where V# is the version number.  That file is placed in a /Paper-and-Pencil/ExerciseName folder within your study folder.  


If you would prefer to deal with the item #s in a .csv data file rather than formatted text within an HTML document, you can export the design by clicking the Export Design... button from the Design tab of our MaxDiff Exercise dialog.  A file named STUDYNAME_EXERCISENAME_Design.csv is saved to your study folder.


Collect the Data:


Make sure when fielding the questionnaire that you are able to match the different questionnaire versions correctly with respondent answers. You should also try to randomly distribute the questionnaire versions among respondents, so that roughly equal numbers of respondents complete each version.


Prepare the Answers:


After you have collected the data, you prepare a .csv file containing the respondent answers.  This file follows a required .csv (comma separate values) format, with specific labels in the first row of the file.  To see that format, prepare a template for yourself by clicking Field | Create Accumulated Data Template File....  A file named Accumulated Data.csv is saved to your study folder.  Use this template to arrange your data, and make sure to use the prescribed header row within your data file.  


The layout is:


Column 1:  Respondent#

Column 2:  Version#

Column 3:  MaxDiff answer #1, etc.


The MaxDiff answers can be recorded either as position numbers in the questionnaire or item numbers selected.  When you accumulate data, you are asked to specify which type of coding you are using.


If using the indirect anchored scaling method, "None are important" is coded as "3", "Some" as 2, and "All" as 1.


Any missing data are coded as blank (meaning, if you viewed the data file using Excel, the cell would be empty; if you viewed the file with a text editor, the missing value would look like two consecutive commas with no text in between).


Accumulate Respondent Answers:


Click Field | Accumulate Paper & Pencil Data... and browse to the .csv file containing your respondent data.

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