This section describes the Survey Administration tab in the Illume Survey Manager and the features it provides for managing multiple surveys in various stages of development.
Generally, survey development follows a life-cycle that includes creation, revision, approval, publication, suspension, and possibly deletion. Survey administration is the process of marshalling a survey through these steps.
Along with these stages, it is important to understand the concepts of workflow, version control, and publication.
Illume enforces a simple workflow rule that requires all surveys to be approved before they can be published. Any Illume user who has Designer or Reviewer role on a survey can edit the survey. However, only the Reviewer or Power User can approve the survey for publication.
In a larger organization, several designers may collaborate on a survey, and a manager may be required to approve it before it is presented to participants. In this case, the survey collaborators should each have the role of Designer, and the manager should have the role of Reviewer.
When the designers feel the survey is ready, they submit it for review to the manager. If the manager approves the survey, then the manager can publish it. If the manager rejects the survey, he or she may include comments specifying what revisions are required for approval.
In cases where survey designers should be allowed to publish their own surveys, and manager approval is not required, an Illume user with the Administrator role can simply give the Designers the Reviewer or Power User role for the survey in question, and the Designers will be able to approve the survey themselves.
The Illume server maintains a central “master” copy of all of the surveys that have been checked in. Whenever a user checks in a survey, Illume copies the survey to the central Illume server, and deletes the user’s local copy. From then on, anyone wanting to edit the survey must check it out from the server.
When a survey is checked out, Illume creates a local, editable copy of the survey on the user’s computer, and marks the “master” copy as checked out.
While the survey is checked out, other Designers cannot edit it. This prevents multiple users from making conflicting simultaneous edits. The Illume Survey Manager will display the name of the person to whom the survey is checked out.
It is possible for an administrator to cancel a user’s checkout if another user needs access to review or edit a survey. Note, however, that cancelling a checkout will cause the master copy of the survey to revert to the version the user checked out. It will not include any changes the user made, and in fact will result in the loss of that user’s changes.
When the designer checks the survey back in, Illume updates the version number, and the new version will require approval before it can be published.
Each version of a survey may have check-out and check-in notes attached. These notes form a history to describe how the survey has changed from one revision to the next.
Publication is the act of making a survey ready to “go live.” Publication essentially puts the survey into a ready state and makes the survey available for data collection or entry.