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The Survey Development and Documentation System. Rick Downs U.S. Census Bureau. What is SuDDS?.

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The Survey Development and Documentation System

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The survey development and documentation system l.jpg

The Survey Development and Documentation System

Rick Downs

U.S. Census Bureau

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What is SuDDS?

The Survey Development and Documentation System (SuDDS) is a database tool for developing specifications and documentation for computer-assisted interviewing (CAI) instruments programmed in CASES or Blaise.

SuDDS also serves as an interactive tool to track changes made to the specifications and to these survey instruments.

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What SuDDS can do for you

SuDDS streamlines and consolidates the survey development process by providing a flexible environment to store information related to specifications, documentation, and change requests.

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SuDDS Features

  • Survey instrument specification

  • Survey instrument documentation

  • Generate CASES code directly from specification

  • Diagnostic tools

  • Multiple language support

  • Various Reports

    • Change requests

    • Items booklet

    • Interviewer instruction manual

    • Research recommendations

    • Keywords

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SuDDS Features (continued)

  • Comprehensive change request system

  • Detailed CASES instrument specifications

  • Full or partial specification replication

  • Specification archiving and version control

  • Importation of existing specifications

  • A suite of Blaise instrument specifications covering all areas of instrument coding

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SuDDS Challenges

  • Users’ unfamiliarity with similar products

    • A majority of users coming from a word processor specification environment

    • Conducting both individual, “hands on” instruction and classroom training

  • No pre-existing standard for Blaise specifications

    • Worked with instrument authors to create specification requirements and review specification prototypes

    • A “suite of specifications” rather than a single specification

  • Visually representing specification structure/flow

    • Represent the survey on the screen with a tree control and in specifications in an outline format

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SuDDS Challenges (continued)

  • Extensive documentation requirements

    • Currently SuDDS’s database has 440 fields in 53 tables

  • A complex specification development environment

    • Specification object editor implemented with 16 windows

    • Editor windows are customizable

  • Transitioning from CASES to Blaise means thinking in universes instead of gotos

    • Collect “traditional” flow/skip information in Blaise specifications

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SuDDS Future Direction

  • Generate Blaise code directly from the specification

  • Interface with other Census meta-data applications

  • Enhanced diagnostic tools:

    • Generate testing scenarios

    • Flow analysis

    • Path analysis

  • Interface with Blaise and CASES data extraction applications

  • Generate SAS code directly from the specification

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