Survey Technologies

As an industry leader in survey research, we undertake scientific surveys of varying size among a wide range of populations while controlling cost and ensuring data quality. Our survey-related services include mobile, web, telephone, in-person and mail surveys, records abstraction, collection of biological specimens, subject tracing, focus groups, and health registries. For more information about computer-assisted interviewing techniques, see Survey Research Data Collection.

Supporting the data processing needs of this work are dozens of computing scientists who specialize in developing and employing survey technologies. Their tasks include implementing questionnaires, extracting and formatting data, producing documentation and reports, designing security measures, creating databases, writing queries, coordinating data file interchange agreements with external sources, suppressing identifiers, creating public use files, and performing other data- or system-related actions that are essential for the success of survey data collection and dissemination.

Capabilities

  • Case management and control systems for survey projects, such as our Nirvana survey management system
  • Computer-assisted interviewing software and authoring systems, such as our RTI Mobile FS app, Hatteras web-interview system, and statistics Netherlands' Blaise software
  • Computing support for multiple modes of data collection, including telephone, in-person interviewing, web surveys, audio computer-assisted self interviewing (ACASI), interactive voice response (IVR, or T-ACASI), and data collection with tablets, smartphones, and other handheld devices
  • FIPS-Moderate (NIST-Moderate) compliant systems for survey data collection
  • Automated data collection and processing, including automatic coding, machine editing, and scanning/optical character recognition
  • Specialized survey support systems such as paperless systems for field studies (DocMan), automated testing tools (RoboTools), and computer-assisted recorded interviewing (CARI)
  • Data management, reporting, and analysis functions, including file delivery with derived and recoded variables, and sanitized or de-identified deliverable files to protect respondents' privacy

Projects

  • Medical Expenditure Panel Survey-Medical Provider Component (MEPS-MPC) (AHRQ, 2008 to date). The MEPS-MPC system extracts data from the medical and billing records of hospitals and other health providers across the country. The system uses RTI's Hatteras system for data abstraction instruments and a custom-built case management system for tracking the progress of data collection.
  • Services for Evaluation of Tobacco-Related Public Education Activities: Evaluation of General Market Youth Campaign (DHHS/FDA/OAGS/DCGM, 2013–2016). Baseline data collection included a screener and parent and child interviews. Three longitudinal surveys will follow the baseline data collection. RTI Mobile FS (formerly known as General Survey System-GSS) and Hatteras are being used for data collection and interviews.
  • Questionnaire Development and Testing for Global Adult Tobacco Survey (CDC Foundation, 2007 to date). Supports World Health Organization and CDC efforts to design and implement a standard survey protocol to collect data on tobacco use in low- and middle-income countries with the highest smoking rates and track countries' progress in implementing tobacco-free programs.
  • National Survey on Drug Use and Health (SAMHSA, 1999–2014). Collects data from approximately 180,000 households per year. Field interviewers in all 50 states use Android tablets and Ultrabook laptop computers for in-person data collection. We provide a complex IT and software infrastructure, mobile data collection hardware and software for data collection and in-field case management, data transmission systems, automatic data processing software, back-end data analysis software, and five project websites that are used to streamline all project work flows.
  • Children's Health after the Storms Feasibility Study (CDC, 2011–2013). An environmental and epidemiologic study of Gulf Coast children who experienced Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Under the direction of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we implemented the planning, tracing, data collection, and analysis for the initial pilot sample of the study.
  • National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (CDC, 2004–2013). A national random-digit-dial survey of US adults about their experiences with intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and stalking. This project also included a cell phone study and non-response study to compare results from these groups to the main landline sample.
  • National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (HHS, 1997–2011). Collects individual- and family-level data from those in the child welfare system, their caregivers, and caseworkers. Our project team pioneered the use of CARI technology, an RTI innovation, along with extensive ACASI interviewing and innovations such as electronic signature and document management systems.