Ideally, you will not have to make changes to your survey once you have begun interviewing (see warnings below). However, the reality is that you will often be asked to make changes. Most every change to your project involves modifying the project locally on your hard drive and uploading updated files to the Web server. If you use the automatic upload capability (Field | Hosting Management) Lighthouse Studio will only upload the files that have been affected by your local changes.
Even though Lighthouse Studio makes it easy to upload changes, don't get lulled into thinking that any change you make to your project after fielding has begun is OK. The warnings listed below still apply, since it is possible for respondents currently taking the survey to be temporarily disrupted by your accessing and modifying files on the server. Also, more importantly, some changes you can make to your survey pose no problems for later analysis; but, some changes you might make can cause a great deal of trouble later. Please see the section below entitled Common Survey Changes.
If you are using the manual upload method with your own FTP software, then you first prepare the project files for web upload (Field | Prepare for Manual Upload). In that case, we recommend uploading just a few selected files that have modified (but not typically the entire project).
Making any change to the project files on your internet server will potentially disrupt respondents as they are taking the survey. For a very brief period respondents might see the "survey paused" error message. Once changes have been applied, respondents may continue.
If you are manually uploading your study via FTP, most study changes will not be made until you log into the Admin Module to click "Apply Changes." By doing this, you update the database (for example, the list of variables to be saved). The database is not changed just by uploading files.
Common Survey Changes
1. Changing Text, Skip Patterns, Adding Questions: Sometimes, you need to make changes to your questionnaire. You can use Lighthouse Studio to modify the survey locally on your hard drive. Then, click Field | Hosting Management to make the change on the server. The automatic web upload feature will transfer the necessary changes to your web server. Use the "Test Mode" functionality within the Admin Module to ensure that the changes were actually implemented.
If using the manual method to upload files to the server, click Field | Prepare for Manual Upload to prepare new files for uploading to the server. These files are saved to a folder on your hard drive within your study folder called /Web Upload. These changes will modify the STUDYNAME_questionnaire.cgi and the STUDYNAME_layout.cgi files located in the /Web Upload/admin/dbadmin/db_setup folder. Upload these files to the db_setup folder on your web server, overwriting the existing files. Make sure to log into the Admin Module on your web server and click "Apply Changes". Otherwise, no changes will actually be made to your survey. Use the "Test Mode" functionality within the Admin Module to ensure that the changes were actually implemented.
2. Changing a Question Name: This is problematic, as the new survey layout will not contain the variable name for the early respondents who completed the questionnaire prior to the change. If you must make this change, you can put the original question on a new page with an unconditional skip. That way, you will be able to export the data from the original question name and the new question name separately. To upload the changes, follow the same instructions as item 1 above.
3. Changing a Question Type: Sometimes, users may need to change the question type from Text to Numeric. This poses a problem for data export and you may not be able to export the data prior to making the change if you do this. Therefore, we suggest the same remedy as item 1 above.
4. Changing Respondent Passwords: To change respondent passwords, the STUDYNAME_pwds.cgi located in the db_setup folder will need to be updated on the server. Follow similar instructions as item 1 above.
5. Changing Administrative Passwords (the passwords you use to access the Online Administrative Module): Open your project using Lighthouse Studio, locally on your hard drive. Click Field | Hosting Management dialog to access and modify your Administrative Access passwords. Click Field | Hosting Management to make the change on the server.
If using the manual method to upload files to the server, click Field | Prepare for Manual Upload to prepare new files for uploading to the server. These files are saved to a folder on your hard drive within your study folder called /Web Upload. For this change, the only file that needs to be uploaded to the server is the STUDYNAME_config.cgi file (within the /Admin directory). Copy the STUDYNAME_config.cgi file from the /Admin folder on your hard drive to the /Admin directory within your study's server installation (overwriting the existing file).
Testing Your Survey after the Change
The Admin Module includes a Test Survey capability that lets you enter a mirror image of your survey as a respondent (but your test data are not mixed with the real data). You should do this to ensure that the change you made has taken properly on the server installation and that you haven't somehow disabled your study.