• Article

The general survey system initiative at RTI International


Thalji, L., Hill, C. A., Mitchell, S., Suresh, R., Speizer, H., & Pratt, D. (2013). The general survey system initiative at RTI International: An integrated system for the collection and management of survey data. Journal of Official Statistics, 29(1), 29-48. DOI: 10.2478/jos-2013-0003


There is a risk of introducing survey error at every stage of any study involving a survey: design, data collection, processing, and analysis. Effectively managing the survey sample from the time of sample selection through the survey lifecycle is essential to producing high-quality data on schedule and within budget. Managing the survey lifecycle using software systems that are not fully integrated can result in error and cost inefficiencies. The development of an integrated data collection and management system that supports monitoring of survey error has the potential to reduce errors and improve operational efficiencies. This system, referred to as Nirvana, uses a standardized database, protocol, and terminology. It integrates case status and history information across modes of data collection and tracing as well as sample and contact information. Nirvana also centralizes questionnaire development, quality monitoring, and support for real-time survey management decisions.