Tools are the cornerstone of research infrastructures in the social sciences.
Currently, even many of the most sophisticated cross-national surveys rely on basic tools to carry out the work of designing questionnaires, administering surveys, and documenting and disseminating data within an international environment. A great deal of work is still carried out manually, which means a loss of efficiency, redundancy of effort, and in the end waste of resources. The suite of tools being developed as part of WP4 will take cross-national survey research to a new level by automating key processes, allowing a better flow and handling of information across the survey life cycle, better project management, and a more efficient use of resources. All tool development in this work package seeks to develop and enhance existing tools, such as those resulting from the FP7-funded DASISH project, and make them available for use by the wider research community. The general objectives of WP4 are to:
- Extend and develop existing tools for cross-national survey producers that support questionnaire design and translation
- Enhance existing tools for more efficient fieldwork processes
- Create a workspace environment for large-scale international survey projects, which allows integration of the tools developed within WP4
- Support data harmonisation practices with improved online tools
- Create better linkages between cross-national surveys and European data archives through technical support for standardised documentation
The WP is divided into five tasks:
Design, development, translation and retrieval of survey questions
This task seeks to test, refine and populate three tools initially developed under the DASISH project. These tools provide users with important and insightful metadata about survey questions and their provenance.
Fieldwork management tool extensions for sample management and CAPI
SHARE has developed a set of tools that are used to manage all fieldwork processes. Task 4.2 aims to re-write the tools to make the adaptation to different situations more transparent and easier to handle. This is necessary in order to export the tool box to other surveys.
Fieldwork Management and Monitoring System – for collecting contact and neighbourhood information
Researchers from the ESS and programmers from SHARE have developed a mobile app to record all contact attempts and register neighbourhood context information in a standardised way during fieldwork. The goal within this task is to develop the prototype into an operational application, and to explore the difficulties associated with implementing such a tool in cross-national surveys.
Survey Project Management Portal
This task aims to develop a web-based project management platform that will support surveys collaborating with CESSDA archives or other providers of infrastructure services. The platform will provide a virtual collaborative workspace for different stakeholders of large-scale international surveys, but also other data collection projects with a distributed membership.
Data Harmonisation Platform
Cross-national and longitudinal data harmonisations and data linking are vital in realising the full reuse value of European-level data. Task 4.5 is to develop a new, online library of harmonisation routines where digitally documented harmonisation projects will be archived and accessed.