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Survey state model (SSM): XML authoring of electronic questionnaires.

Lloret, Jose; Wiratunga, Nirmalie


Jose Lloret




Computer Assisted Interviewing (CAI) systems use questionnaires as the instruments to conduct survey research. XML constitutes a formal way to represent the features of questionnaires which include content coverage, personalisation aspects and importantly routing functionalities. In this paper we conduct a comparative analysis on different XML approaches to questionnaire modelling. Our findings suggest that existing language formalism are more likely to cover content coverage but often fail to model routing aspects. In particular the popular hierarchical approach to modelling routing functionality has one or more draw backs along the lines of ability to facilitate questionnaire logic validation, ease of understanding by domain experts and flexibility to enable refinements to questionnaires. Accordingly we introduce the Survey State Model (SSM) XML language based on a state-transition model to address these shortcomings. We present our results from testing SSM on a sample of real-world surveys from Pexel Research Services in the UK. We use the distribution of SSM's vocabulary on this sample to demonstrate SSM's applicability and its coverage of questionnaire constructs and effective routing support.


LLORET, J. and WIRATUNGA, N. 2015. Survey state model (SSM): XML authoring of electronic questionnaires. In Kosek, J. (ed.) XML Prague 2015 conference proceedings. Hájích, Czech Republic: Ing. Jiří Kosek [online], pages 159-178. Available from:

Conference Name 2015 XML Prague
Conference Location Prague, Czech Republic
Start Date Feb 13, 2015
End Date Feb 15, 2015
Acceptance Date Jan 9, 2015
Online Publication Date Feb 15, 2015
Publication Date Dec 31, 2015
Deposit Date Nov 22, 2021
Publicly Available Date Nov 22, 2021
Publisher Ing. Jiří Kosek
ISBN 9788026076674
Keywords XML; XSD; SCH; Authoring; Survey; Questionnaire; CAI; Hierarchical model' State-transition model
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