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Introduction

What's New with Blaise

 

Introduction

Blaise® is a powerful computer-assisted interviewing (CAI) system and survey processing tool for the Windows® operating system and the Internet. Developed by Statistics Netherlands and licensed and supported in North and South America by Westat, Blaise includes many advanced capabilities that meet the high demands of today's CAI surveys

  • "Out of the box" seamless support for telephone (CATI), in-person (CAPI) and Internet (CAWI) surveys and other survey processes, including data capture (CADE) and interactive data review and editing
  • Multimode integration combining CATI, CAPI, and CAWI into a single instrument to maximize the economic and methodological potential of each mode
  • Proven interviewer interface with screen layouts that can be customized
  • Powerful and flexible questionnaire definition language
  • Ability to include multimedia (audio, pictures, video) in a survey instrument
  • Strong support for user-developed add-on components developed in VB and .Net
  • Open system architecture supporting the integration of Blaise with non-Blaise systems, RDBMS, and software
  • Comprehensive documentation

Blaise is used worldwide. The International Blaise Users Group (IBUG) includes members from Australia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Peoples Republic of China, Portugal, Republic of Maldives, Serbia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Blaise is scalable to the needs of large-scale surveys and is adaptable and affordable for small research projects. Blaise is used for a variety of research studies conducted by government statistical agencies, academic research, and contract research organizations

  • Household surveys
  • Business and economic surveys
  • Health surveys
  • Labor force surveys
  • Energy/environment/agriculture surveys
  • Cross-sectional and longitudinal sample designs
  • Multimode surveys

Blaise Internet 4.8 (with strong new architectural, development, and scaling capabilities)

Blaise Internet Services (BlaiseIS) is a scalable, server-based solution for Internet surveys. It is based on Blaise, the leading software package for collecting data for complex surveys.

  • Technologies. On the client side, BlaiseIS uses HTML and JavaScript to support as many browsers as possible. On the server side, BlaiseIS uses Microsoft IIS with Active Server Pages (ASP) to produce HTML pages. To upscale the system, servers can be added. Server communication is done through TCP/IP.
  • Metadata. BlaiseIS uses the central metadata concept of Blaise. The full routing and checking functionality of Blaise is, therefore, available in BlaiseIS.
  • Data. Data collected with BlaiseIS can be stored in a relational database, such as Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle, or in a royalty-free proprietary format.
  • Layout. Professional-looking page layout is achieved in a flexible way through style sheets. BlaiseIS features a powerful style sheet editor, which lets users customize the layout for their surveys.
  • Browsers. BlaiseIS has been tested on numerous browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Netscape, Opera, and various PDA browsers. BlaiseIS handles popup blockers and can also work with browsers that have JavaScript disabled.
  • Security. Security can be achieved on different levels. To authenticate users, users can use Microsoft IIS features, program authentication in ASP, or program authentication in the Blaise survey itself. To secure communications, Microsoft offers Secure Socket Layer (SSL). Finally, received data can be stored behind a firewall using Blaise's OLE DB Datalink technology.
  • Architecture Performance. Performance is dependent on processor speed, available internal memory, number of servers, and complexity of the survey. Adding extra web and/or rules servers will increase the performance.
  • System Requirements. The server installation requires Windows 2000 (SP2), Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows Vista, or Windows 2008. A minimum of 1 GB of memory is recommended. A Blaise web server also requires Microsoft IIS 5.0 or higher. A development installation requires Windows 2000 or higher, with 256 MB of memory or more.

Blaise 5

Blaise 5, the next major release of Blaise, is being developed by Statistics Netherlands with beta release in 2014.

Blaise 5 will provide significantly improved customization capabilities, better support for mixed-mode surveys, a more integrated approach to survey layout, and a greatly enhanced development environment. Blaise 5 will enhance the performance gains of recent versions and increase compatibility with the latest Windows operating systems.

The new development environment will offer an advanced text editor (with features such as syntax highlighting, IntelliSense, and bracketing) and a WYSIWYG environment for specifying survey layout. It will take full advantage of industry standards such as XML, Unicode, ADO.NET, and WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation).

Blaise 5 will also maintain as much compatibility as possible with source code and binary files from earlier versions of Blaise. The rules engine in Blaise 5 will be an extended version of the rules engine in Blaise 4.x so that the behavior of existing code will not be affected.

Blaise 5 developmental priorities are set by Statistics Netherlands in consultation with members of the Blaise Corporate License User Board (BCLUB).

Ongoing information about Blaise 5 is available from Statistics Netherlands(external site) [*].

Contact to learn more about Blaise for survey processing needs.

Blaise® is a registered trademark of Statistics Netherlands. Windows® is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.

Blaise Tools for Questionnaire Documentation and CAI Testing

Two tools are available for Blaise users for questionnaire documentation and CAI testing: the Michigan Questionnaire Documentation System (MQDS) and the CAI Testing Tool (CTT).

  • MQDS. This tool extracts comprehensive metadata from Blaise survey instruments and renders the data as an eXtended Markup Language (XML) document using the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) standard. It is a powerful tool to help create questionnaire documentation, with or without summary statistics, and other documentation based on the Blaise data model for a study.
  • CTT. This application manages and facilitates efficient testing of Blaise questionnaires.

Information about how to access these tools is available at www.blaise.com.(external site) [*]

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