UNLV's Center for Survey Research now is equipped to do computer-assisted surveys -- an improvement that brings UNLV's center in line with other top-flight university survey centers.
"The new CATI (Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing) system is a major step forward for us," said Jim Frey, who chairs UNLV's sociology department and who founded the center. "It puts us on a par with similar centers across the nation and should help us attract some additional clients."
The center, which conducts opinion surveys for numerous clients on a variety of subjects, recently moved into specially designed quarters in one of UNLV's new buildings in the Classroom Building Complex.
And, as part of the building project, the center obtained the 15 computer stations that allowed it to move out of the pencil-and-paper era and into the computer age.
"Added accuracy is the big gain here," said Nancy Downey, the center's operations director. "We've eliminated the data entry stage. That makes us faster, more efficient, and more accurate."
Previously, the interviewers recorded the answers from their telephone surveys onto a written form, and that written information later was entered into a computer, Downey explained.
Now, the interviewers record the respondents' answers directly onto computers, which reduces the chance of error by decreasing human handling of the data, she said.
Donald Carns, the sociology professor who is the center's director, said that with the new, improved equipment, the center should be able to attract national and possibly even international clients.
Most of the center's work is done for other government agencies and for departments within the university. The center, which uses a variety of data collection methods and statistical analyses, does not do political surveys.
Downey said the center can be hired to do work for non-government clients, depending on the type of work desired. The center staff can help the client design the survey and produce professional reports, if those services are requested, she said.
For additional information about the Center for Survey Research, contact Carns or Downey at 895-3322.