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.
The results from the survey are saved to a disc file.
- Its name: Subject ID + Survey Name + Date + ".txt"
- Its location: the application folder.
- Its format: Variable name + " , " + response + " , " + question when typed in by the participant.
- The questions do not appear in the output file, unless typed in by the participant.
Survey Input Text File:
- The input files are read one line at a time. The "svy" extension can be used instead of "txt" in the file name. This permits to automatically load the survey software when double clicking on the
file name without doing the same for all text files.
- The first line of the survey must be the survey name that will appear at the top of every page.
- The second line of the survey can be the file path of the survey icon that will appear at the top right of every page.
- The third line of the survey should be the folder entire path in which the results will be saved such as:
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Desktop
If the folder is not specified or its path is not found, the results will endup in the "default folder" which may happen to be any of the following:
1 - The root directory/folder of the current drive, which may result in an "access denied" error in Vista.
2 - The folder where the survey is located.
3 - The application folder where the "exe" file is located.
- Any other line in the file preceding the first "<<" is ignored and expected to be comments.
- Each new survey page starts with a line starting with: "<<" followed by coding information.
- All the lines until the next "<<" are considered parts of the same page.
- Only ASCII text characters and no TABs should be used anywhere in the survey.
- Right clicking the survey name at the top of any page can be used to exit the survey at any time from any page.
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:
- 12 points for Instruction lines.
- 12 points for Alert line.
- 11 points for radio button column titles.
- 12 points for the questions
These sizes can be changed in two ways:
- 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
- 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.
! 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:
- skip following pages depending on the participant's answer
- or hold until a checkbox is either checked or unchecked.
command is available for both, single and multiple
answer (S & M) pages.
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.
The question number is followed by a colon ":".
If the colon is followed by another number then:
If the answer to this question is True/Checked, then the second number on this command line indicates how many pages to skip.
If the exclamation mark is followed by a minus sign and the answer to this question is False/Unchecked, then the second number on this command line indicates how many pages to skip.
Else if the colon is not followed by a number then:
If the answer to this question is True/Checked, then the "Submit" button is gray out until the answer is False/Unchecked .
If the exclamation mark is followed by a minus sign and the answer to this question is False/Unchecked, then the "Submit" button is gray out until the answer is True/Checked ..
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:
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.
<<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).
- 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.
- Adding: "Debug" to the options line will place the software in "Debug" mode:
- No need to enter participant and interviewer IDs on the starting page.
- Added "Page No" indicator in the middle of the progress bar.
- Pressing the F1 key displays the key functions (items 4 & 5) in the area normally used for the "Instruction".
- [PageUp] & [PageDown] keys can be used to go back up one page & forward one page respectively.
- [Home] & [End] keys can be used to go back up 10 pages & forward 10 pages respectively.
Visual Basic Survey Program Files
2008 June 20
Last updated 2009 January 12