Introduction To PREPARE

The PREPARE module of Mentor is used to create questionnaires for the Survox Multi-Mode Platform interviewing program.

To access the PREPARE subsystem at the operating system prompt, enter the following:


When you type the access command, the program will prompt you for a possible specification (spec) file:

Spec file -->

The spec file is the file containing questionnaire specifications and other commands. It must be an ASCII file. It must NOT contain tabs or other format control characters often used by word processors. The program reads the file line by line. If you have a file, you would enter the file name, or the drive and directory (or group and account) of the file, if they differ from your current drive and/or directory, with the file name. The only required element is the file name.

The syntax for the file name is:

Directory/Subdirectory/filename.extension (UNIX)

If the file is located in a directory and/or sub-directory other than the one you are signed on to, enter the directories separated by slashes (\ for DOS; / for UNIX). This is followed by the file name, which must be from one to eight alphanumeric characters long, starting with a letter. We suggest you use an extension on the file name, to specify the type of file it is.



The extension (suffix) is a naming convention that is left to the user. It can be used to identify ‘types’ of files. For EXAMPLE, you could use QPX or SPX for your specification files. Be careful not to use standard Survox extensions to identify your files. You cannot use a file with the extension of QSP because that is used for Survox backup spec files.

The maximum file name extension is 20 characters. That way, dates can be used in the extensions (using a YYMMDDHHMMSS format).

The spec file may include references to other files, bringing in separate portions of questionnaire specifications.

If you want to enter commands line by line, press Enter at this prompt to tell the program that the input for this questionnaire will come from your keyboard. Otherwise, type the name of the file with the commands needed to create your questionnaire.

The program will then prompt you for a list file:

List file -->

The list file is where the list of program commands processed and resulting messages go. Press Enter to tell PREPARE that you wish to see these at your screen. You may specify a file name and the output will be stored in a file of that name. If the name is preceded by a dash, a same named file will be purged.

NOTE: >PURGE_SAME does not affect the list file.

The spec file and list file may also be specified as part of the command line:


mentor bank.qpx -bank.lfl  (UNIX)

Because the spec file (BANK.QPX) and the list file (BANK.LFL) are specified, you would not be prompted for them. The program would process the commands from BANK.QPX and display the commands processed and resulting program messages in the file BANK.LFL. If BANK.LFL already exists, it will be deleted and replaced with the new version because of the dash preceding the name.

The computer screen can also be specified as the spec and/or the list file on the command line. CON is the file name used for this type of standard input and output:



Using System Variables

You can set a variable at the operating system level for example:

setenv SCODE bank

and reference it wherever you can reference a file name in Survox programs. This would be at the spec or list file prompt, or when using &filename references. To reference the variable SCODE, put exclamation points (!) around it at the start of the file name reference.



would look for bank.LST.

The variable named “CFMC” has a special meaning. Do not use it for other uses. Wherever you set it is where the program(s) look for Survox files. The default for the variable “CFMC” is \CFMC\.


To run with more memory (faster):

MENTOR “CON” “CON” “CORE:4000000”

To load a predefined variable from the environment:

mentor “con” “con” “define:@file=$filename” (UNIX)

To preload things into a program such as Survent (study name, ID, etc.) use the INIT: parameter:

survent con con “INIT:<item1;item2…>”\