Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What systems and equipment will this run on?
The ACASI system runs on desktop computers, laptops, netbooks and tablets that are running the Windows-based operating system.
You can download and run our demo on your Windows-based computer to verify that the ACASI system will work properly on your computer.
How is the data saved?
Data is exported directly to the computer as a delimited text file as shown to the right.
Each record is on a separate line.
A 'comma-delimited' (,) data file is most common, but we can also save the data as a pipe-delimited (|) file if desired.
Where is the data saved?
The data is saved into a text file (named data.txt) in a folder named 'data' which will be in the same folder in which you install the system on each computer. If you have installed the software on 3 laptops, then you would have a 'data.txt' file on each computer. You will want to get those files to your data manager who would backup and merge those files into one data set. Most people use a USB drive/data stick to copy the data. If your computer is connected to a network, you can copy the data file from the computer to a drive on the network for backup without the USB drive/data stick.
Where do we install the system?
We strongly recommend that you install the system directly onto the hard drive (usually C:) on your Windows-based computer. We do not recommend running the system over any type of wireless network in case the connection drops. (You know what happens with dropped calls on your cell phone!) Having the system on your computer hard drive is the safest plan.
Can we buy the software and build it ourselves?
Sorry! We've developed our own system - it's not a software that is available to purchase. In any case, building a system is pretty complex. Most researches find it easier to just have someone like us build the questionnaire system for them and it saves them time and money.
We've also created many ACASI, CASI and CAPI systems, large and small. We can share our experience and consult with you on the best way to convert your paper questionnaire(s) to an electronic data collection system.
Who records the audio?
Most people usually record their own audio to match the specific languages and local accents. We can provide you with instructions on recording your own audio. If we have a language speaker available, we can also record the audio.
Can you design systems without audio?
Yes! Our systems can be designed to be
simple data entry systems, as well as:
How much does it cost?
The cost depends on your study. We've developed systems as small as 8 questions and very large systems that have well over 1,000 questions. The cost also depends on the number of languages, the complexity of the types of questions, and if audio is required. With that in mind, we like to take a good look at your questionnaires and discuss your study needs before we give you a price range.
In many cases, we are included as a 'subcontract' when grant proposals are submitted. We can help to provide you with an estimate for your budget.
Is there a cost per computer? Can we put it on more than one computer?
The cost for the system is a flat fee. There is no 'per computer' cost. You can install it on as many computers as you would like once the system is developed.
How long does it take?
Good question! Actually, this is really two questions.
As for "How long does it take to build a system?", that depends on your study and the number of questions. We have developed very small systems in a few weeks and we have also worked on very large projects that were over a year in development.
As for "How long does is take for a study participant to complete an ACASI questionnaire?", that also depends on your study. It is not faster than interviewer-administered. It is generally longer. One way to find out is time yourself reading your questionnaire at a reasonable pace, pausing where appropriate and allowing time for responses. Adding audio instructions and supplemental information also takes up time during the administration, so add in extra time for that. It's important to consider your participants vocabulary level and attention span when designing your study. It may be challenging for some populations to remain focused for long periods of time which would impact your study results.
We've never used this type of system. Got advice?
We'll help you through the development process which includes reviewing your questionnaires and guiding you through the best way to convert your questionnaires to an electronic format.
First, be sure you have a clear understanding of your participants reading level, computer ability, etc.
Then take a close look at your questionnaires to be sure the intended participants will be able to understand the questions. Many times, study questions are written at a very high level, perhaps by someone with a Masters or Doctorate degree but the study participants may only be at an 6th or 10th grade reading level. Be sure your questions are simple, direct and clear. (This is much more difficult than it sounds!) Don't assume! It's always a good idea to test questions on paper with people who match the participant population. Get feedback. Rewrite questions that are confusing. Be aware of the length of your questionnaire.
We will create a demo file with a few of your questions so you can test the system and make sure it works as you expect on your computer. We will then take your finalized questionnaires and incorporate those into the system and make it available for you to review and test.
Can you include our logo or images?
We can include your logo and images that you provide to us.
Will it run on a MAC?
No. The software runs on a Windows-based computer. That computer could be a desktop, a laptop, a netbook and even new Windows-based tablets that are coming out. We suggest that you download and run our demo on your computer to verify it will work. If the demo works on your computer, then our system will work.
Will it run on my tablet?
Our system will run on a Windows-based tablet, but again we suggest that you download and run our demo on your computer to verify it will work. If the demo works on your computer, then our system will work. There are many different operating systems for all of the new tablets on the market. Be sure you are aware of the operating systems before you buy new equipment.
Do you work with CFAR (Center for AIDS Research) investigators?
Yes, we do. We do this through The Nutrition, Metabolism and GI Core of The Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research (CFAR). Contact us to learn how we can help you.
I'm interested in having your team create a system for our study. What do we do next?
That's great! We're excited to help you.
Please review our Step-by-Step page, complete the Information Request (PDF) form, save it and email it to
Scott Sughrue at: