• Presentation

Using the Blaise Alien Router for audio-recording of in-person interviews


Thissen, M. R., Sattaluri, S., & Filippenko, L. (2007, January). Using the Blaise Alien Router for audio-recording of in-person interviews. Presented at The 11th Annual International Blaise Users' Conference (IBUC 2007), Annapolis, MD, .


The Blaise alien router is a useful technique for managing calls to external software. In this paper, we describe use of an alien router for activation of audio-recording software for in-person surveys.

During in-person field interviews, the performance of field staff and the effectiveness of item wording are notoriously hard to monitor. Traditional methods of live observation during the interview can bias results through the presence of the observer, and verification call-backs to the respondent to confirm authenticity and professional behavior may not provide enough detail to assure high quality data collection. For computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI), digital audio recording offers an efficient alternative which allows evaluation of interviewer and item performance during data collection (Thissen et al, 2007).

We describe a practical technique in which Blaise (Statistics Netherlands) instruments can be enabled for computer audio-recorded interviewing (CARI). This approach comprises an external file for specifying items to be recorded, an alien router which activates the laptop's sound-recording system, and block-level activation of the router within a Blaise instrument. Ideally, a system for audio recording should require little programming, execute undetectably, provide a flexible choice of which items to record, allow respondent consent to be given or revoked at any time and store recordings in clearly identified files. This system offers all of those advantages. By invoking the router on specific blocks or on the entire instrument, minor programming effort can turn a standard implementation into a CARI-enabled questionnaire.