Special Information Statements

Special Information, or SPECIAL, statements are used to share information with systems outside of the interview, or to perform special functions during the interview.

The syntax for a Special Information statement is:


Most of the subtypes have no options. The exceptions are noted.

  • Please note that several SPECIALs give you more than one type of information.
    • If you want the third piece of information out of five possible pieces, you have three choices.
      • You can ask for three pieces and ignore the first two.
      • You can look to see if another SPECIAL gives you the same information in a more reachable position.
      • You can specifically request certain fields.
    • SPECIAL subtypes with a TO location and FROM location will always have the data location and length specified on the SPECIAL line, not on the question label line.
    • The location in the data record may be referenced as absolute column, QQ#, or label.
      • Brackets around column references are optional.
      • They are included below to make it easier to note which option is the location.
    • 5000 is the maximum length you can get or put at one time; to work with more, use an additional SPECIAL command.
Type of Special Statement Description
CASEID/Unique ID Related These statements assign the caseid into the data, get the assigned caseid from the data, or writes and updates a caseid in the data. They also get a unique value from the quota file.
Data Related These statements abort interviews, store a respondent’s browser information, send or retrieve data from the global and local scratch areas, write from an external file into the data, write the station number or LDEV into the data and save text into data.
Dates, Study and Employee Information Related These statements keep track of various types of system dates, study specific information, and employee information within the data file.
SPECIAL, SUSPEND and TERMINATE Block Related These statements can force a suspend at a particular question, read suspended comments, force the use of the special block and capture the questions where a Terminate, Suspend or Special execute.
Supervisor/Log File Related These can write information into the log files and send messages to a Supervisor.
Timer Related These statements keep track of times of interviews, allow pauses, automatically fill an answer if one is not given within a timeframe or forces an interviewer into a survey after a specified length of time.