Blaise® is a comprehensive survey processing system that provides complete support for computer-assisted survey needs. Blaise offers a number of capabilities to meet the demands of today’s automated surveys.
Blaise is a program that runs on Windows 7® or later versions. The current release of Blaise has multiuser network capability under local area network (LAN) operating systems.
As a development system, Blaise is suitable for survey organizations of any size. Blaise’s powerful programming language and integrated tools offer numerous features:
- Modular field and block-oriented code promotes reuse and ease of maintenance
- Parallel blocks support nonlinear progression of an interview
- Built-in data coding support and external file lookups provide multiple lookup methods, including hierarchical, alphabetical, trigram, or combinations of methods
- Selective checking mechanism checks all appropriate rules throughout the interview, ensuring data integrity
- Provides integration with other programs either through Dynamic Link Libraries (DLLs) or through Open Blaise Architecture
- Developer’s environment includes online help and tools for testing
- Comprehensive documentation provides “how to” information and practical examples
- Provides support for large databases with many levels of hierarchy
- Provides data export for statistical or database packages
- Screens are automatically generated with developer-prescribed formats
- Metadata approach allows for efficient updating and maintenance of instruments
Blaise provides a multimode user interface for Windows and Web applications that supports a variety of survey processing needs and offers the following features:
- The same Blaise instrument can be used in any mode (e.g., computer-assisted personal interviewing [CAPI], computer-assisted telephone interviewing [CATI], data editing)
- Page-based presentation facilitates interviewer navigation
- Blaise rules allow interview flow specification, ranging from simple linear to complex and nonlinear flow
- Multiple interviewer navigation methods provide flexibility while interviewing
- Behavior mode settings control details of system behavior for each group of users
- Language can be changed with a few keystrokes for multilingual instruments
- Remarks can be entered at any point in the interview and can be recalled and viewed
- Survey-specific user help can be implemented using WinHelp
- Users can exit and restart interviews at any point
- Nondestructive backup allows interviewers to efficiently backup and move forward while interviewing
Blaise supports survey management with the following features:
- Reports track survey progress, missing sample, and other survey management items
- The CATI Call Management System supports time zones, time slices, quotas, groups of interviewers, and supports strategies for improving productivity and response rates
- CAPI laptop management systems can be developed using the Maniplus module
- Programmatic “hooks” enable interfacing with external survey management systems at any point in the interview
- Large and complex instruments can be developed and maintained economically using the Blaise Programming Language
- Proven interviewer interface promotes accurate collection of data, thereby reducing the level of post-interview processing
- The Data Entry Program is used for interviewing, data editing, and forms-based data entry. Many styles of presentation and four modes of behavior are available.
- The computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) Call Management System and call scheduler support time zones, groups of interviewers, time slices, and user-defined strategies.
- BtEmula/BLEmu are emulators for load testing both CATI specific and other instruments on LANs.
- Manipula is a batch system used to import, export, and recode data. It can be used to generate reports, manipulate data, manage data, and much more.
- Maniplus is an interactive extension to Manipula. It is a shell tool that can be used for CATI and CAPI laptop management and management of in-office data editing and data flow, among other things.
- Cameleon is a metadata system and language that can recast Blaise data descriptions into one for SAS, STRATA, SPSS, or other statistical packages or database languages. Users can also use Cameleon to create customized translation setups for an organization’s needs.
- Delta is an advanced questionnaire documentation tool that reads the Blaise data model meta information file and displays the questionnaire in the format of a Tree View. Item detail is available in either a textual format or a flow diagram.
- Internet Server Manager communicates with the server or servers to server groups, loads and unloads Internet applications on the server, and monitors server activity.
- Internet Workshop is used to set the appropriate XSL style sheet, the Blaise menu file, various layout elements for groupings of questions, and server parameters.
- The Structure Browser allows users to view the structure and hierarchy of their instrument.
- The Database Browser viewer allows users to see the values of selected fields in a Blaise database.
- Hospital is a data integrity module that can check the integrity of the database and rebuild it if necessary.
The following documents are available free of charge by emailing Blaise@westat.com.
- Blaise Guide for Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI)
- An in-depth description with examples of all major features of Blaise CATI, including data model design and development, sample management, call scheduling, interviewing, project management, and reporting.
- The Commute Survey provides an in-depth example of Blaise CATI and is used extensively in the CATI Guide.
- Blaise 4.5 Developers Guide
- How to use all the features of Blaise and is the latest documentation of the Blaise system.
- Blaise Maniplus Guide
- How to use Maniplus, a component of the Blaise program that is used to program survey management systems. This guide, though written for Blaise 3, can be used for Blaise 4.
Tools by Blaise Services at Westat
When you select a file below, a License Agreement is displayed. You must indicate acceptance of the terms of the License Agreement for the download to take place. The agreement covers all software or tools, and other various files that are downloadable through or from this site.
WesAudit Software (zip)
A software tool for accessing and summarizing Blaise audit trail data – to organize, simplify, and enhance use of audit trail files. It facilitates ad hoc review of individual case files in development, debugging, or problem reporting situations. It also provides a standard way to extract summary information for statistical analysis and reporting.
WesRandR Software (zip)
A tool for the randomization and rotation of survey items in Blaise. Randomization is a commonly used technique to address potential order effects in survey questions. Response categories for a single question or a series of questions are presented in random order. Rotation is similar with responses or a question series asked in a systematically varied sequence, for example, 1-2-3-4, 2-3-4-1, 3-4-1-2, 4-1-2-3. Some CAI packages include a built-in capability for randomization and rotation. In Blaise this requires custom programming. To simplify use of randomization and rotation in Blaise, we have developed WesRandR to automatically generate ready-to-run code for questions a Blaise datamodel.
TestNote Software (zip)
A program to support testing of Blaise instruments. TestNote is a stand-alone Windows executable. It promotes systematic testing of Blaise questionnaires by providing a fast, structured process for testers to document their work. The Blaise developer adds a user-defined menu item to the menu used by the instrument. The menu item starts TestNote passing various command-line parameters about the current field, the data model, and so forth. Testers, when they want to make a note, start TestNote through the Menu item or shortcut key. TestNote opens on the screen, showing various information about the instrument, tester, and current field. Then the tester selects from drop down lists and a radio button group to classify the type of testing note being entered. Next the cursor moves to the general notes memo field where the tester can enter any comments.