University of Wisconsin–Madison

Services

Design and Methodology

  • STUDY DESIGN AND COST PROPOSALS

    UWSC provides extensive and expert consultation about study and survey design as we collaborate in developing customized cost proposals for investigators. Discussions include sampling frame, survey mode, sample size, incentive structure, locating and contacting strategies, achieving high response rates.

  • INSTRUMENT DESIGN AND TESTING

    Project directors are trained in research about instrument design. We do comprehensive review of drafted instruments or work with researchers on design, conceptualization, drafting, and testing. Multiple methods of testing include cognitive interviews. Telephone interviews can be recorded digitally for convenient review.

  • COGNITIVE INTERVIEWING

    UWSC staff are skilled in instrument development and have experience in multiple methods of testing and evaluating survey instruments, including cognitive interviewing, designing questions to debrief respondents as part of a pretest, and debriefing pretest interviewers.  Because our interviews can easily be recorded digitally, clients can usually listen to pretest interviews at their convenience.

  • SPANISH LANGUAGE INSTRUMENT DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION

    UWSC maintains a professional staff with the ability to translate, program, and implement Spanish-language survey instruments, as well as supporting study materials such as advance letters and brochures.  UWSC conducts Spanish-language data collection in all modes, including web, mail, telephone, and face-to-face.

Data Collection

  • WEB SURVEYS

    Qualtrics and our own software offer customized questionnaires.  Survey invitations can be sent by letter or email (including reminder emails), and we offer web in mixed-mode surveys with mail follow-up. Electronic files and data are stored on secure servers. Survey data are delivered in a labeled and formatted data set.

  • MAIL SURVEYS

    All phases of mail surveys (questionnaire design and formatting; mail and logging; data entry and delivery). Design materials and sequence of incentives and contacts (e.g., advance letter, questionnaire, and reminder) for high response rate. Can use researcher’s sample or purchased address-based sample. Tracking and quality control at all stages.

  • TELEPHONE INTERVIEWS (CATI)

    The UWSC call center conducts computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI). We program simple or highly complex instruments. Interviewers are highly trained and monitored. Digital recording available. Researcher’s sample or purchased sample (landline and cell) can be used. Data available in various formats and can include tools for making data web-accessible.

  • FACE-TO-FACE INTERVIEWS (CAPI)

    UWSC conducts computer-assisted personal interviews (CAPI). We program simple or highly complex instruments. Interviewers are highly trained and monitored. Digital recording available. Researcher’s sample or purchased sample (address-based) can be used. Data available in various formats and can include tools for making data web-accessible.

  • MIXED-MODE SURVEYS

    Surveys commonly combine interviewer-assisted modes (face-to-face and phone) with contacts by mail and self-administered instruments (paper and web). We customize survey designs to consider information in the sampling frame and combine modes for cost-effectiveness and high response rates.

  • FOCUS GROUP FACILITATION

    Very experienced staff conduct all stages of a focus group project: project design, recruitment of participants, focus group meeting facilitation (as moderator or assistant), and report writing. Focus groups may be for instrument design or stand-alone investigations. The groups are recorded, exact transcriptions are made and reports can be prepared.

  • IN-DEPTH INTERVIEWS

    In-depth interviewing is a qualitative research method that pairs a study participant with a trained qualitative interviewer for intensive exploration of a topic. By allowing study participants to respond in their own words to open-ended questions, in-depth interviewing can yield rich, contextual information about participants’ opinions and attitudes, even on sensitive topics.

    The in-depth interviewing method is used in a wide variety of fields, including health services research, program evaluation, user experience research, education, and legal studies. In-depth interviewing can stand alone or complement quantitative methods, as in mixed-methods research.

    The UWSC can provide experienced in-depth interviewers who can conduct interviews in person or over the phone, and can assist with any aspect of your project, including:

    • In-depth interview study design and consultation
    • Target population identification and recruitment
    • Question guide development and review
    • Arrangement of participation incentives and interview venues
    • Audio recording
    • Transcription
    • Qualitative analysis and report writing
  • DATA ENTRY

    Data entry can be provided in conjunction with a mail survey or as a stand-alone project.  Our staff is capable of handling thousands of entries per week.  We offer single-pass or double-pass entry.  Mail surveys are scrupulously logged and data entered in a project database by trained data entry operators.  Rigorous quality control is performed at each step of the process.

  • SURVEY APPS FOR PHONES AND TABLETS

    UWSC builds both Android and iOS data collection apps. These apps can be installed on  both UWSC-owned and respondent-owned devices. Data are stored locally on the device if no internet connection is available and synchronized back to secure UWSC servers when an internet connection exists.

  • BIOMARKERS AND PHYSICAL MEASUREMENTS

    UWSC has experience directly collecting various biological samples and physical measurements, including urine, hair samples, blood pressure, salivary DNA, stool samples, home water samples, gait speed, chair rise, grip strength, lung capacity, vision tests, weight, height, and photographs of respondents.

  • RESPONDENT TRACKING AND LOCATING

    UWSC obtains and updates telephone numbers, email addresses, and mailing addresses of sample members using state-of-the-art locating tools, including nation-wide credit bureau databases, fee-for-service locater websites, professional web-based information resources, and other sources. We achieve high response rates with challenging populations and in longitudinal studies.

  • CODING

    UWSC maintains a staff of trained coders to work in specially-designed software to code open-ended survey responses, occupation and industry, interviewer-respondent interaction, and historical census data on microfilm.  Coders work in pairs, double-coding each other’s work, with any discrepancies resolved by a supervisor.

  • CASI AND AUDIO-CASI

    UWSC has over 15 years of experience with programming computer-assisted self-interviews (CASI) and audio-computer assisted self-interviews (ACASI).  These instruments are primarily used as modules within a face-to-face interview but can be developed as a stand-alone instrument.

  • DIGITAL RECORDING OF INTERVIEWS

    All of UWSC’s telephone interviewing stations (for CATI) and our encrypted laptops (for CAPI) are equipped to digitally record interviews.  This powerful and flexible technology integrates seamlessly with our interview software and allows us to record interviews in their entirety, or if preferable, only certain sections of an interview.