WO1994003861A1 - Method for transferring information from forms, especially questionnaires, to a computer's data base - Google Patents

Method for transferring information from forms, especially questionnaires, to a computer's data base Download PDF

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Publication number
WO1994003861A1
WO1994003861A1 PCT/IT1992/000119 IT9200119W WO9403861A1 WO 1994003861 A1 WO1994003861 A1 WO 1994003861A1 IT 9200119 W IT9200119 W IT 9200119W WO 9403861 A1 WO9403861 A1 WO 9403861A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
computer
questions
box
boxes
file
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/IT1992/000119
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Adriano Ballabene
Original Assignee
Adriano Ballabene
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to ITMI92A001848920729 priority Critical
Priority to ITMI921848A priority patent/IT1257975B/en
Application filed by Adriano Ballabene filed Critical Adriano Ballabene
Publication of WO1994003861A1 publication Critical patent/WO1994003861A1/en

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/02Marketing, e.g. market research and analysis, surveying, promotions, advertising, buyer profiling, customer management or rewards; Price estimation or determination
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F17/00Digital computing or data processing equipment or methods, specially adapted for specific functions
    • G06F17/10Complex mathematical operations
    • G06F17/18Complex mathematical operations for evaluating statistical data, e.g. average values, frequency distributions, probability functions, regression analysis
    • G06F40/174

Abstract

Method for processing statistics by computers (50) characterized in that each box (14, 15, 21-23) for each question (12, 13, 25-27) on forms (10) for questionnaires, occupies, in relation to a system of coordinates (XY), an unequivocal position, and in that, as a result of the optic pen (54) of a digitizer (51) being pressed on the crossed boxes (14, 15, 22) one after another, the computer (50) identifies the position of said boxes (14, 15, 22) already stored in its memory and therefore transfers to a specially constituted file (A, B) the answers (18, 19, 22) to the questions (12, 13, 25-27) posed in the questionnaire (10).

Description

METHOD FOR TRANSFERRING INFORMATION FROM FORMS,ESPECIALLY QUESTIONNAIRES, TO A COMPUTER'S DATA BASE

The invention concerns a method for putting data into com¬ puters . It is generally known that increasingly low-cost availabi¬ lity and ever greater processing speeds make it possible to use computers for a growing variety of applications. A serious problem which greatly limits the intensive use of computers and hinders full exploitation of their high po- tential is the frequent need to effect data entry operations in order to make available information of the most varied kinds acceptable by a computer.

The techniques for solving this problem vary according to the field of application. For automatic identification of industrial products laser optic reading systems have been created that can read the codes printed on products, known as 'bar codes' . To acquire this material, namely storage of documents, images, technical drawings on paper, LED opcic readers are used at. scanners .

The stored images are decoded into word form and technical drawings by means of sophisticated software processes known respectively as Optical Character, Recognition (OCR) or In¬ telligent Character, Recognition (ICR), and software for vectorization.

Vocal input systems exist for acquisition of written mater¬ ial, and these use a microphone, connected to the computer, and specialized software.

Unfortunately these methods present further problems, espe¬ cially of cost, scanners being still very expensive, also problems of a practical kind since OCR and ICR techniques are still not entirely dependable and their processing re- suits always have to be checked. These techniques are also so complex and so fast that costly computers are needed if good results are to be obtained quickly enough. At present transfer into computers of written and, above all, of numerical data is mostly done by operators who read the information to be put in and simul aneously type it onto the keyboard.This process is very slow partly because the operator's attention continually moves from the page to the keyboard and from there to the computer's monitor to see that the information goes in correctly. Typing errors obviously occur frequently.

In the case of social and population surveys, censuses and research are carried out by statistically processing the replies given by persons interviewed.

These replies are on paper, namely on questionnaires received by those conducting the research, in the form of numbers represented by crosses placed over boxes. To be functional these boxes must allow space for the 'X' indicating the reply in such a way that the number is not interfered with, as for example:

1 J£ male 2 j female

The number which a 'crossed' box represents, denoting the reply given to the question by the person interviewed ,must be stored in the computer for later statistical processing. The most widely used technique in these cases is that of the keyboard which in addition to being slow and likely to involved typing errors, obliges the operator to move his glance from the questionnaire to the keyboard and from there to the monitor to see that the cursor is in the right place. It is known that insertion of data is represented on the monitor by compilation of a diagrammatic layout, spread¬ sheet or electronic sheet composed of the same number of areas as the questions the replies to which provide data. The cursor moves from one area to another and the answer must be typed onto the keyboard when the cursor is in the area of the question concerned at the time. For each reply that goes into the computer through the keyboard, the confirmation key 'enter' must be pressed as well . Purpose of the invention is to improve the phase of data insertion into computers especially data from questionnaires. Subject of the invention is a method of statistical pro¬ cessing by transferring to a computer's mass memory, in¬ formation from forms, especially from questionnaires wherein replies to questions are given by putting crosses onto boxes and perhaps adding words or numbers. On questionnaire forms each box corresponding to a ques¬

tion occupies an unequivocal position in relation to a sys¬

tem of coordinates.

Information is supplied to the computer by a digitizer with a printed form and optic pen worked by a press button. Working according to a program that comprises storage of all the questions in the questionnaire and according to the way the pen is directed onto the crossed boxes one after another, the computer identifies and memorizes the positions of said boxes and therefore the replies given to the questions contained in the questionnaire. Where the form includes questions that require replies in the form of words or numbers, transfer to the computer of information on these questions can be done by associating an alphanu erical table to that of the digitizer. By di¬ recting the optic pen onto the letters and numbers, one after another, in this table, numerical codes correspond¬ ing to said symbols can be transferred to the computer. In this way information relating to the 'open' questions, those requiring words or numbers in the answers, can be transferred by pointing the optic pen onto the symbols, in succession, in the aforesaid alphanumerical table, corres¬ ponding to the words and numbers in the replies to said 'open' questions. Advantageously the mass memory comprises one file containing, in coded numbers, all data for unequivocal identification of each box in the questionnaire, and therefore of each question in it, and a second file for memorizing replies. Part of the computer program's function is to iden i fy , fro among the boxes memorized in said first file, the box corresponding to the position indicated by the optic pen and, in said second file to memorize, in coded numbers, all data relating to information associated with the var¬ ious boxes identified in said first file, namely the re- plies to the various questions.

Information about the position of forms on the digitizer is transmitted to the computer by making the optic pen co¬ incide with two diagonal vertices,one after another,on said forms. The computer identifies each box by means of transmission of numerical data corresponding to the coordinates of the positions of two diagonal vertices on each box. The digitizer is connected to the computer by an interface electronic circuit which expresses the signals referring to the position of the optic pen in relation to the prin- ted table and to the state of the press button in a way comprehensible to the computer.

One function of the computer's program is to issue an acous¬ tic warning if information supplied by the optic pen as to its position does not correspond to any of the boxes memorized in the computer.

The invention clearly offers many advantages. The operator's attention remains concentrated on the con¬ tents without any need to glance elsewhere so that opera¬ tive speeds are very much higher.

Great benefit is attached to the fact that nothing further is needed to choose the 'area' in which to work. This is done automatically by the computer according to the posi¬ tion of the box that is touched and insertion of data is therefore much faster. As a warning is sounded if a wrong selection has been made, the operator does not need to take his eyes off the page. not even to ascertain that a mistake has been made. The method is so simple that no great calculating resour¬ ces are required of the computer so that less expensive models can do the work adequately. Digitizer devices too are now so widely used as to be re¬ latively cheap.

The invention provides an extremely quick and secure me¬ thod of carrying out data entry operations for which sim¬ ple and inexpensive equipment can be used. Characteristics and purposes of the invention will be made still clearer by the following examples of its execution illustrated by diagrammatic figures.

Fig. 1. Part of a questionnaire conforming to the invented me hod . Fig. 2. Computer connected up to a position transducer or digitizer. Fig. 3. Flow diagram of execution of a program according to the invented method with an example of software for acquisition of information. Fig. 4. Table showing contents of an electronic file with details of questions corresponding to questionnaire boxes,Fig.1. Fig. 5. Table showing contents of the electronic file with information on replies corresponding to questions in the questionnaire in Fig. 1. Fig. 6. Table showing statistical processing obtained with the program carried out by the invented method. The questionnaire form 10 (Fig. 1) for acquiring population data comprises, as usual, a set of boxes, such as those num¬ bered 21, 22, 23 against which are questions like 25,26,27. To these questions the person interviewed or in any case concerned, replies by putting, or not putting, an X in the boxes. In practice an X is equivalent to a "YES" while an empty box means a "NO" .

The numbers representing the boxes with an X must be stored in the computer for statistical processing. According to the invention all the boxes occupy a precise position in relation to the edge of the page. For example, box 22 has coordinates X and Y respectively in relation to the edges 30 and 31 of the form 10. Figs. 2 and 3 illustrate the equipment for executing the invented system, comprising a computer 50 connected to a digitizer 51, or transducer of position and state, by a cable 52.

The digitizer's printed form 53 is served by the optic pen 54 connected to said form 53 by a wire 58. The optic pen 54 has an electric contact 55 worked from the press button 56 on the tip of said pen 5έ . Fig. 3 is a diagrammatic flow of the program executed by the computer 50. Said program comprises the mass memory 70 stored in the files A and B.

File A contains all data for unequivocal identification of each box in Questionnaire 10 according to the coordi¬ nates (X. J Y.) and (X_» Y„) relative to the position of the upper left and lower right vertices of a box, as shown, for example, for box 22 (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2 shows an area 35 of questionnaire 10 in Fig. 1 devoted to questions such as 'Level of education' I 1, and to 'open' questions such as 'How old are you?', 12, 'Where do you live? ' 13. The data include a code for identifying each box.

File B contains all data on the replies associated to each box. These data consist of the questionnaire number, of the page number in the questionnaire, of the code for the question corresponding to a box and of the code for the reply corresponding to the same box. How the program, subject of the invention, functions is shown in the flow diagram given in Fig. 3. Having placed the form 10 on the printed table 53 of the digitizer, lined up with precise previously made referen¬ ces, the operator makes the optic pen 54 coincide with the various crossed boxes one after another.

For example, if the pen 54 coincides with box 22, the com¬ puter will obtain the coordinates (X.» Y.) and ( «» Y„) identifying the corresponding box in its file A. When the operator presses the optic pen, closing the contact 55 by having pressed the button 56 on the tip of the pen, the computer 50 acquires the 'state' of the box and thus the answer to the question put in said box. In particular, the computer 50 receives from the digitizer 51 through the interface 59, signals 57 of 'position' (coordinates X,Y) and 58 of 'state' . By exploring the whole question¬ naire 10, Fig. 1, file B acquires all the answers to the questions put in the form.

The table 53 in Fig. 2 shows the set 60 of panels compri¬ sing two, 61 and 62, ith numbers from 0 to 9, another, 63, with symbols and numbers from 0 to 9 and another , 64 ,with letters of the alphabet.

This table is used to pass on to the computer alphanume- rical data on questions such as 12, 'how old are you?' or 13, 'where do you live?' . Having placed the tip of the optic pen on boxes 14 and 15 for these questions - enabling file A to identify these questions from among those filed - the operator puts into the computer the various letters or numbers in the replies pointing the pen onto the letters or numbers of panels 63 and 64 corresponding to the numbers or letters in the replies. Said replies go into the computer's file B.

Panels 61 and 62 serve to put into the computer, still by means of the optic pen, the number of the questionnaire and following that the numbers of pages of the question¬ naire transmitted. Fig. 4, in table 40, shows the structure and content of electronic file A with information on the questions and the possible answers.

It shows the questions 11, the code 16 for questions, the coordinates 17 (X , Y.), (X,» Y„ relating to boxes like 21, 22, 23 and possible answers like 25, 26, 27.

File B .stores information, as it arrives, from the optic pen, concerning the pages of various questionnaires as illustrated in diagram 41 in Fig. 5 where column 42 gives the questionnaire number, column 43 the__'code for reply to question 1', column 44 for question N° . 2, and so on. The data taken from file B enable the computer to do 'statistical processing' as shown by the diagram 45 in Fig. 6, with columns 46, 47, 48, 49 referring, for exam¬ ple, to the questions 'educational level', 'reply code', to 'attendance' and 'percentages' .

The diagram in Fig. 3 indicates stages of the program. Making reference to this diagram, the program functions as follows. Having read the state of contact 55 and of the coordinates (X,Y) indicated by the digitizer 51, the computer 50 veri¬ fies if contact, 55 has been closed and, if so, takes up its position at the start of file A.

The computer 50 then reads the currently selected record and checks to see if the coordinates indicated by the digitizer 51 are included among the coordinates (X , Y ) and(X , Y ) taken from the reading of said record.

If this is so, the codes for question and answer associa¬ ted to the box corresponding to the currently selected record of file A are written on file B. But if this is not so, if the currently selected record is not the last in file A, the computer 50 goes on to the record immediately following and repeats the stage of reading and verifying the coordinates on the new se¬ lected record. If on the other hand the currently selected record is the last in file A, the computer returns to the initial reading stage and an acoustic warning is sounded to tell the operator that the point on the page of questionnaire 10 chosen by him does not correspond to any of the boxes stored in file A.

Claims

1. Method of statistical processing by transferring to the mass memory (70) of computers (50), information from forms ( 10), especially questionnaires, in which the replies ( 18, 19, 26) to questions ( 12, 13, 25-27) are given by placing crosses in boxes ( 14, 15,22) and if necessary by adding words ( 19) and numbers ( 18), characterized in that each box ( 14, 15,21-23) relating to a question ( 12, 13,25-27) on the forms ( 10) for question- naires is placed, in relation to a system of coordinates (XY) in an unequivocal position, in that the information is supplied to the computer (50) by a digitizer (51) com¬ prising a printed table (53) and an optic pen (54) with an operational press button (56), and in that said co - puter (50), as a result of a special executive program (65) that comprises storage of all the questions ( 12, 13, 25-27) in the questionnaire ( 10) and as a result of the optic pen (54) being placed on the crossed boxes ( 14, 15, 22) one after another, identifies and memorizes the posi- tion of said box ( 14, 15,22) and therefore the answers ( 18, 19,26) to the questions in the questionnaire ( 10).
2. Method as in claim 1, characterized in that, if the form ( 10) contains open questions ( 12, 13), namely questions ( 12, 13) which have to be answered with words ( 19) or numbers ( 18), transfer to the computer (50) ot information relating to said ques¬ tions (12, 13) is made possible by associating to the di¬ gitizer's table (53), alphanumerical panels (63,64) so that by causing the pen (54) to coincide with the letters and numbers in said panels (63, 64), transfer is made to the computer (50) of numerical codes corresponding to said symbols, it being possible to transfer information relating to said open questions ( 12, 13) in the questionnaire ( 10) by making the optic pen(54) coincide with the boxes ( 14, 15) relating to said open questions ( 12, 13) one after another and the symbols in the aforesaid alphanumerical panels (63, 64) corresponding to the words and to the numbers of the replies ( 18, 19) to said open questions ( 12, 13).
3. Method as in claim 1, characterized in that the mass memory (70) comprises a first file A containing all data, coded in numbers, needed for unequivocally identifying each box ( 14, 15,21-23) in the questionnaire ( 10) and therefore each question ( 12, 13, 25-27) in said questionnaire, and comprises a second file B where the relative answers ( 18, 19, 26) are stored, and in that one function of the program f the computer (50) is to identify from among the boxes ( 14, 15,21-23) memorized in said first file A, the box ( 14, 15,21-23) corresponding to the information of position supplied by the optic pen (54) and to memorize in said second file B all data, coded in numbers, relating to the information associated to the various boxes ( 14, 15, 21-23) identified in said first file A, namely the answers ( 18, 19) to the questions ( 12, 13,25-27).
4. Method as in claim 1, characterized in that the position of the forms ( 10) on the digitizer (51) is transmitted to the computer (50) by making the optic pen (54) coincide with two diagonal vertices on said forms ( 10).
5. Method as in claim 1, characterized in that the computer (50) identifies each box ( 14, 15,21-23) by transmission of numerical data correspond¬ ing to the cordinates (XY) of the positions of two diagonal
Figure imgf000015_0001
- 13 - vertices of each box (14, 15,21-23).
6. Method as in claim I, characterized in that the *digitizer (51) is connected to the computer (50) by an electronic interface circuit (59) that transforms the signals regarding the position of the optic pen (54) in relation to the table (53) and to the state of the activating press button (56) into a form com¬ prehensible to said computer (50).
7. Method as in claim 1, characterized in that one function of said executive pro¬ gram (65) is to have said computer (50) emit an acoustic warning if the positional information supplied by the op¬ tic pen (54) does not correspond to any of the boxes ( 14, 15, 21-23) stored in the computer (50).
PCT/IT1992/000119 1992-07-29 1992-09-29 Method for transferring information from forms, especially questionnaires, to a computer's data base WO1994003861A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
ITMI92A001848920729 1992-07-29
ITMI921848A IT1257975B (en) 1992-07-29 1992-07-29 Method for the insertion of information modules, in particular questionnaires, in a database of an electronic processor

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
AU27821/92A AU2782192A (en) 1992-07-29 1992-09-29 Method for transferring information from forms, especially questionnaires, to a computer's data base

Publications (1)

Publication Number Publication Date
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IT (1) IT1257975B (en)
WO (1) WO1994003861A1 (en)

Cited By (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
FR2719401A1 (en) * 1994-04-27 1995-11-03 Khan Alexandre Computer controlled system for administration of questionnaires
WO1996008779A1 (en) * 1994-09-14 1996-03-21 Dolphin Software Pty. Ltd. A method and apparatus for preparation of a database document in a local processing apparatus and loading of the database document with data from remote sources
WO1997018520A1 (en) * 1994-07-27 1997-05-22 Your Image Australia Pty. Ltd. Methods of and apparatus for assessing a business
EP0984372A1 (en) * 1998-09-01 2000-03-08 Jürgen Held Method and device for manual input of various events or states

Citations (6)

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB1168679A (en) * 1966-03-22 1969-10-29 Sentralinstituit For Ind Forsk System for Transferring Data.
EP0069196A1 (en) * 1981-07-08 1983-01-12 AEG Olympia Office GmbH Device for text alteration and correction
EP0088565A1 (en) * 1982-02-27 1983-09-14 Fanuc Ltd. Method and apparatus for controlling entry of information by coordinate input device
GB2177243A (en) * 1984-03-28 1987-01-14 Barker Dr Keith Data recording technique and apparatus therefor
US4697048A (en) * 1986-04-29 1987-09-29 Hewlett-Packard Company Graphics tablet menu locator accommodating differing sizes of paper
US4716542A (en) * 1985-09-26 1987-12-29 Timberline Software Corporation Method and apparatus for single source entry of analog and digital data into a computer

Patent Citations (6)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB1168679A (en) * 1966-03-22 1969-10-29 Sentralinstituit For Ind Forsk System for Transferring Data.
EP0069196A1 (en) * 1981-07-08 1983-01-12 AEG Olympia Office GmbH Device for text alteration and correction
EP0088565A1 (en) * 1982-02-27 1983-09-14 Fanuc Ltd. Method and apparatus for controlling entry of information by coordinate input device
GB2177243A (en) * 1984-03-28 1987-01-14 Barker Dr Keith Data recording technique and apparatus therefor
US4716542A (en) * 1985-09-26 1987-12-29 Timberline Software Corporation Method and apparatus for single source entry of analog and digital data into a computer
US4697048A (en) * 1986-04-29 1987-09-29 Hewlett-Packard Company Graphics tablet menu locator accommodating differing sizes of paper

Cited By (9)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
FR2719401A1 (en) * 1994-04-27 1995-11-03 Khan Alexandre Computer controlled system for administration of questionnaires
WO1997018520A1 (en) * 1994-07-27 1997-05-22 Your Image Australia Pty. Ltd. Methods of and apparatus for assessing a business
WO1996008779A1 (en) * 1994-09-14 1996-03-21 Dolphin Software Pty. Ltd. A method and apparatus for preparation of a database document in a local processing apparatus and loading of the database document with data from remote sources
GB2307574A (en) * 1994-09-14 1997-05-28 Dolphin Software Pty Limited A system and method for obtaining and collating information from computer users
US5842195A (en) * 1994-09-14 1998-11-24 Dolphin Software Pty Ltd Method and apparatus for preparation of a database document in a local processing apparatus and loading of the database document with data from remote sources
US5893098A (en) * 1994-09-14 1999-04-06 Dolphin Software Pty Ltd System and method for obtaining and collating survey information from a plurality of computer users
GB2307574B (en) * 1994-09-14 1999-08-25 Dolphin Software Pty Limited A method and apparatus for preparation of a database document in a local processing apparatus and loading the database document with data from remote sources
EP0984372A1 (en) * 1998-09-01 2000-03-08 Jürgen Held Method and device for manual input of various events or states
US6525712B1 (en) 1998-09-01 2003-02-25 Jurgen Held Method and device for manual recording of various events or states

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
AU2782192A (en) 1994-03-03
ITMI921848D0 (en) 1992-07-29
IT1257975B (en) 1996-02-19
ITMI921848A1 (en) 1994-01-30

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