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Computer Scannable Documents

Savant Surveys and Strategies services include the design and construction of a scannable document which provides greatly increased speed and accuracy in the collection of data from paper-copy documents compared to the traditional method of manual data entry.

The process of scannable documents eliminates manual data entry and as such addresses data entry input errors and data omissions while significantly reducing the time and cost required for the importation of data into customised spreadsheets ready for immediate analysis.

  1. Savant Surveys and Strategies designs and constructs the scannable document in consultation with stakeholders and the client, including:
    1. assistance with, or design of, the questions and information to be included
    2. design of the structure, layout, fonts, and colour of the document to ensure that it is tailored to suit the project and target population
    3. design and incorporation of graphics (e.g., company logo or pictures ) into the document
  2. the scannable software design module used by Savant is so versatile that almost any questionnaire style and layout is possible
  3. image zones can be incorporated into the document to provide for the capture of data from individual labels that have been adhered to the document
  4. a computer scannable PDF version of the same document can be constructed and made available:
    1. for download from a website
    2. emailed as an attachment
    3. posted to the respondent to allow dissemination amongst colleagues for the provision of a collective response on the document to be submitted
  5. Savant can also construct and maintain a secure web-based HTML version of the document which allows respondents to complete the document online, with the data collected automatically processed and transferred into the file containing the data from the scannable version
  1. Savant can manage the commercial printing process of questionnaires to ensure that the finished product is attractive and of the highest quality
  2. printing requirements can be chosen to reflect the corporate image, logos and stationery
  3. scannable documents can be printed in any coloured ink, that is a specified PMS colour, on white quality Bond stock of 90gms at the same cost as printing in black ink on white paper.
  4. shadings of colours anywhere between 1% -100% can be utilised for the following reasons:
    1. to increase the variability of colour without increasing the number of inks required
    2. to improve the aesthetics of the document while keeping printing costs to a minimum
    3. to provide emphasis, such as using 100% colour as headings, 30% for examples etc
  5. for small numbers of questionnaires, photocopies of the master document can be used
  6. each scannable document is given a unique identifying number during the printing process to:
    1. improve the tracking of individual documents or batches
    2. enable data matching
  1. Savant can assist with the distribution and collection of questionnaires and associated material
  2. documents can be constructed allowing space for mailing labels or printed in such a way that when folded, a DL envelope is formed with individualised addressed postage paid insignia
  3. Savant can prepare mail-merge documents and data spreadsheets to efficiently produce individualised covering letters to accompany the mailed scannable documents
  1. scannable documents designed by Savant can be completed under any type of circumstances:
    1. independently by the respondent
    2. by a researcher during a telephone interview
    3. by a researcher in the presence of the participant
  2. Savant’s scanning technology allows for responses to be captured and coded in a variety of ways:

OMR -‘Optical Mark Recognition’ (OMR) involves the respondents selecting their response to each question by shading the relevant circle or crossing the appropriate box:

Optical Mark Recognition

ICR - hand-written text responses can also be collected using ‘Interpretive Character Recognition’ This ICR technique allows alphabetic, numeric, and symbolic data to be scanned and collected by placing the numbers, letters and symbols in given boxes:

Interpretive Character Recognition

LIZR - where free comment is requested, a scannable ‘Literal Image Zone Recognition’ area is constructed within the body of the document and the written comments are subsequently scanned, interpreted, and exported into the respective data file, verbatim:

Literal Image Zone Recognition

OMR, ICR and LIZR responses can be written in 2B pencil, or with any dark coloured ink

  1. once the document has been completed, the respondent or researcher returns the document to Savant where it is processed using Savant’s industrial speed scanner
  2. the documents may be submitted for scanning as they become available, not only in one large batch, allowing interim data sets to be provided to at any stage of the data collection process
  3. Savant’s high speed scanning system allows up to a maximum of 1200 double-sided A4 pages of data per hour to be collected, collated, processed and exported into the respective data file
  4. the rate of data processing is irrespective of the amount of detail on each page and if the pages are single or double sided
  5. each OMR, ICR and LIZR scanning zone is given a variable code which is imported into the spreadsheet and the data collated under each respective variable column
  6. data may be collected in many different forms ( e.g. csv, tab-delimited ) to aid importation of the data into a variety of Macintosh and IBM compatible statistical packages or collected in a specified format ( e.g. SPSS, Excel, Access)
  7. data can be imported into a spreadsheet in any designated order, not merely in the order that the items appear on the document
  8. a document’s data can be automatically dissected and exported into multiple spreadsheets, not restricted to exportation to a single destination file
  9. Savant’s specialised scanning program only looks for responses within the scanning areas, therefore, administration notes, references, or comments may be written on the documents outside of the scannable areas without affecting the scanning and data collection process
  10. Savant’s technology also enables an image of each individual scanned document to be captured as a PDF for archiving purposes
  1. Savant can provide a number of statistical analyses and reporting procedures including:
    1. both qualitative and quantitative analyses
    2. descriptions and interpretations of the data in a report format to a level (ie basic, intermediate, and advanced) as required
  2. an interim report of results to date can be produced at any stage of the project
  3. Savant also specialises in the formulation of strategies which are based on the results of the statistical analysis
  4. to view the components of each level of report, please click here
Page Layout
  1. each page of the document has black squares placed with precision in the four corners of the page which act as reference marks ensuring the scanner lines up the pages correctly
  2. each page is imprinted with two bar codes which:
    1. act as the identifying symbols for each individual questionnaire and respective page
    2. ensures the data is automatically transported to the designated file
  3. an individualised and incremental QID number is placed on each page of the document ensuring that if the questionnaire’s pages become separated, Savant’s scanning technology automatically collates the individual documents data and imports the collective response in the usual way
Optical Mark Recognition
  1. for OMR responses, the software’s default settings deems any circle or box that is at least 50% covered (ie by the shading or the cross) to be a “definitive response
  2. if the response provided involves an area between 15-39%, the software will declare it as an “indefinite mark” which requires reviewing by the operator to ensure that the mark was intended
  3. definitive response and indefinite mark percentage values can be set to suit each document
  4. a high resolution scanned image of each response requiring reviewing is individually presented on the computer screen so that the correct response can be inputted in an instant rather than needing to refer back to the original questionnaire
  5. if a respondent has shaded or crossed more responses than is permissible (ie choose one only), the software will identify it as containing “too many marks”, which once again requires reviewing by the operator to ensure that the mark that was intended is inputted
  6. if the correct response is indeterminable, the operator documents the QID number and question number / variable code so that the client can decide what action to take
Intelligent Character Recognition
  1. for ICR responses, the software program's default system deems any hand-written letter, number or symbol that is at least 90% recognisable to be a definitive response
  2. if the recognisability is below 90%, it will declare it as “unrecognisable” and to be reviewed by the researcher to ensure that the correct response is obtained
  3. as with OMR, a high resolution scanned image of each response requiring reviewing is individually presented on-screen so that the correct response can be inputted

Literal Image Zone Recognition

for LIZR responses, once again, the software presents for review any alphanumeric or symbolic character that has not met 90% recognisability criteria Manual Checking Savant, as a matter of course, manually checks an agreed number of questionnaires (usually 10%) against the scanned results, for quality assurance purposes


DESIGN FLEXIBILITY Savant’s advanced software is designed specifically for the construction of questionnaires Almost any layout and response option format is possible thus providing a very flexible design medium
AESTHETICS AND RESPONSE RATES The aesthetics of the questionnaire is greatly improved due to Savant’s design flexibility and ability to print in a variety of colours and shades It has long been recognised that increasing the aesthetics of a questionnaire increases the response rate achieved
RELIABLE QUESTIONNAIRE COMPLETION The questionnaires are simple to complete, as usually only a circle needs to be shaded, or a letter / number placed within each box The simplicity and flexibility of layout of the questionnaires improves their ability to be completed reliably without any specialist supervision
COMPLEMENTRY MODES OF COMPLETION Once constructed using Savant’s software, the questionnaire can easily be adapted to create an online version of the questionnaire The addition of an on-line mode of completion provides ease of access, can decrease paper, printing and reply-paid postage costs, and collectively increases response rates
SPEED OF DATA COLLECTION Savant’s high speed scanning system allows up to a maximum of 1200 double-sided A4 pages of data to be scanned, processed and exported per hour Due to the speed of the scanning process, data from a large-scale survey can be collected and returned to the client quickly and with significant cost savings
FLEXIBILITY OF DATA FILE FORMAT Computer scannable questionnaires allow for automated customised spreadsheets to be developed for flexibility of data collection The collected data of a scanned questionnaire can be dissected and simultaneously exported to any number of files of varying formats (e.g., SPSS, Excel, del)
FLEXIBILITY OF DATA COLLATION Background scripting of computer scannable questionnaires allow for greater flexibility of data collation The order of the data in the resulting spreadsheet is not restricted to the order that questions appear on the questionnaire
CONFIDENTIALITY AND PRIVACY Reviewing of scanned data by the operator is only required where certain accuracy thresholds have not initially been met Therefore, data that is collected via computer scanning has a higher degree of confidentiality and privacy
ACCURACYOF DATA COLLECTION Scripting of scannable questionnaires enables acceptable value ranges to be applied to individual variables and automated exportation to the designated variable columns Data that is computer scanned contains less input errors as it has a number of quality assurance features applied at various stages of the scanning and reviewing process and the computer does not suffer fatigue like humans
ACCURACYOF DATA COLLATION Each questionnaire is provided with an individual ID number which is placed on each of the respective pages If questionnaire’s pages become separated for any reason, Savants scanning technology automatically collates the individual document’s data and imports the collective response in the correct fashion
PROVISION OF IMAGES FOR ARCHIVING A scanned image (e.g., PDF, TIFF) of each questionnaire can be created at the time of scanning for the purpose of archiving These images can be individually labeled with any variable code (e.g., surname) contained in the questionnaire for ease of location

Get Acrobat ReaderFor a pdf copy of the above information on Computer Scannable Documents,
please click here.

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