General Information



This "Field Survey" is a software package intended to assist its users in making their own simple surveys.


The user must type a text file following the instructions below (Survey Input Text File) and the application: Survey101.exe downloadable below (Visual Basic Survey Program Files) interprets the text file to present the questions with check boxes, radio buttons or text boxes.
It is recommended to replace the ".txt" extension with ".svy" to distinguish the survey files from other text files.
The survey can be exited at anytime by right clicking on the survey title that appears on every page.

Output File.

The results from the survey are saved to a disc file.

Learning Guide (by example).

This is only a suggested way to learn how to program a survey using this application.
  1. Create a new folder anywhere on your computer.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of this page and download these 3 files circled in red
  3. You should end up with a folder that looks like this.
  4. Double clicking on the application: Survey101D.exe should start the application that should then ask for the command text file to run.
  5. Selecting: WS%206%20week%20interview%20Ver1.svy should cause the application to start the sample survey.
  6. Opening the same survey file (WS%206%20week%20interview%20Ver1.svy) with any text editor you can see the effects of each command line.


Survey Input Text File:

Page Codes and Layout:

The first line of a new page is indicated by "<<" followed by a code letter giving the characteristics of the page.

Alert Line :

Example: Sample page with "Alert" label.
~ These are questions about any pain or aching symptoms you have had since your assault.
The "Alert" lines must appear before any question line and can be intermingled with the "Instructions" lines.
They are displayed in a special label at the bottom of the page, starting above the progress bar and spanning across the page. Only one line of text can be displayed and the formatting is preset to Bold, Italic, and its color to Blue.

Question Lines :

/*Age*/ Please type your age in the text box.
A question line is identified by a variable delimited by "/*" and "*/" as shown in the example.
This variable is used to identify the answer in the output file and will most likely be used as a column title in a report table. It is therefore recommended not to use any character that could be interpreted as a delimiter by the end program, such as spaces, tabs, commas, etc.

Font Sizes :

The default font sizes are as follows: These sizes can be changed in two ways:
  1. Changing the defaults for the whole survey: 4th line of the survey.
    Example: Ifont= 16 ~Font= 14 Tfont= 10 Qfont=11
    Will change the font for all the pages unless overiden by (#2) individual page specifications:
    • 16 points for Instruction lines.
    • 14 points for Alert line.
    • 10 points for radio button column titles.
    • 11 points for the questions
  2. Changing the size for individual pages: first line of the affected page.
    Example: R5 |??| |Not at all| ... |etc.| Ifont= 11 ~Font= 12 Tfont= 8 Qfont=10
    Will change the font for the one page only, overiding any other font setting:
    • 11 points for Instruction lines.
    • 12 points for Alert line.
    • 8 points for radio button column titles.
    • 10 points for the questions
Note that only the sizes that need changing need to be specified.

Skip/Hold Command Lines :

! 3:2    if answer to question #3 is true skip the next 2 pages.
!- 5:1   if answer to question #5 is false skip the next page.
! 0:1     unconditionally skip the next page no matter the answer (added in 2015 version).
! 3:      Hold if answer to question #3 is true (Submit is grayed out).
!- 5:    Hold if answer to question #5 is false(Submit is grayed out).

These lines are commands to automatically either: The "Skip" command is available for both, single and multiple answer (S & M) pages.
The "Hold" command is available only for multiple answer (M) pages.
Each Skip or Hold Command line starts with an exclamation mark.
Followed by a number that represent the sequential number of a question on the current page.
If the question number is 0 or left blank, the skip is unconditional. This case was added in 2015 in the case that a previous condition would have made a skip to the next page that would now, need to be skipped.
The question number is followed by a colon ":".
If the colon is followed by another number then: Else if the colon is not followed by a number then:

Loop Feature for Table implementation :

A special case of the Text Box page with the "Loop" feature can be used to implement tables.
For example, if the folowing code is used, 2 text boxes representing one row of the table, will be presented over and over again as the participants click the "Next" button until they click the "Submit" button:
<<T Loop
/**/ Medicine
/**/ Dosage

This feature can also be used to ask the participants any number of questions they may have.

Line Breaks :

In order to make the survey text files more readable by shortening the length of long lines, the same scheme that is used in some computer programing languages is used: a space followed by an underscore. Ending a text line with a space and one underscore indicates that the following line should be considered as part of the same line by the decoding software.

For example:
<<R5 |??| |Not at all| |Mildly| |Medium| |Quite a bit| |Very much| _
Ifont= 14 Qfont=10

Is the same as:
<<R5 |??| |Not at all| |Mildly| |Medium| |Quite a bit| |Very much| Ifont= 14 Qfont=10

Blank / Comment Lines :

In order to make the survey text files more readable by the insertion of blank and /or comment lines:
Any line beginning with a period is simply ignored.

Debugging Options :

The 4th line of the survey can optionally be used as an options line. In order to be considered an "Options" line it must contain the word "Options" (not case sensitive).
Available option(s):
  1. Adding: "F1" to the options line will enable the survey programmer to display the current "page" number by pressing the function key "F1" while testing the survey.
  2. Adding: "Debug" to the options line will place the software in "Debug" mode:
    1. No need to enter participant and interviewer IDs on the starting page.
    2. Added "Page No" indicator in the middle of the progress bar.
    3. Pressing the F1 key displays the key functions (items 4 & 5) in the area normally used for the "Instruction".
    4. [PageUp] & [PageDown] keys can be used to go back up one page & forward one page respectively.
    5. [Home] & [End] keys can be used to go back up 10 pages & forward 10 pages respectively.

Visual Basic Survey Program Files


Original Surveys:
"WS Initial Interview ver1" (40KB ".doc" file, dated 8/12/2008)
"WS 1 week interview" (122KB ".docx" file, dated 6/25/2008)
"WS 6 week interview ver1" (436KB ".doc" file, dated 6/25/2008)
"WS 3 month interview ver1" (411KB ".doc" file, dated 8/12/2008)
"WS 6 month interview ver1" (389KB ".doc" file, dated 8/12/2008)

Executable application:
Survey executable program file (326 KB ".exe" file) (last update August 20 @ 14:40 with comment line capability)
Survey executable program file (338 KB ".exe" file) (New version with "unlimited" vertical radio buttons August 22 @ 15:20 )
Survey executable program file with added debugging features (345 KB ".exe" file) (New version with "unlimited" vertical radio buttons August 26 @ 15:45 )

Reproduction survey text files with "svy" extensions:
"SW Initial Interview ver1" (26 KB text file). (last update July 23 @ 11:30)
"WS 1 week interview ver11" (27 KB text file). With variables (last update August 20 @ 11:30)
"WS 1 week interview ver12" (27 KB text file). Same as ver11 with variables but with newer font control (August 22)
"WS 6 week interview ver1" (44 KB text file. (last update August 19 @ 16:00 with variables)

Question Variable Names:
Vanessa's variable scheme (49KB doc file).

Survey logo:
Women's Health Study logo (2KB jpg file)

2008 June 20
Last updated 2015 July 20