Interviewer Display and Control Options

Frequently Used Options



Shortform:  LANG

The LANGUAGE= header statement is where you specify which languages will be included in the questionnaire. It also allows you to specify the character set and the default starting language. This MUST be included if you have multiple languages with the \Lxx language control specifications on your questions.

Use CHARACTER_SET to set what character set is used for these languages.  Supported character sets are UTF8 or Extended_ASCII.

The “SPEAKING=<language>” parameter is used to set the default language the interview will be started in, otherwise it defaults to the first language in the list.

Use –CHECK_FOR_MISSING_LANGUAGES if you know you have some questions that are not in all languages, otherwise the program will check to make sure every question has some text for every language.

Other Options


Shortform:  ABORT

Allows the interviewer to abort an interview by typing ABORT. You can also use the compiler directive ALLOW_ABORT to turn this ability on and off throughout the interview. Specifying this option on the header merely changes the default setting.  This is not allowed by default and it is recommended you use the Terminate command and block since you can then control what happens when the interview gets a break off in progress.



Causes sound files to be stored in the data file as upper case and also sent to the dialer in upper case.  The default is lower case for the Survox dialer and upper case for other 3rd party dialers.



Shortform:  ECHO

Places you in Echocats mode on code lists. Responses to all FIELD questions will be echoed (response code highlighted) when the interviewer presses Enter an extra Enter is required to move to the next question. (See FIELD QUESTION TYPE for more details.)

NOTE: This will override the HIGHLIGHT_CATS compiler command. You can also control this by using the compiler command ECHO_CATS or by assigning the interviewer this capability in the employee information file (E in columns 42-44). Specifying this option on the header merely changes the default setting. The option can be SINGLE, MULTIPLE or ALL. This controls whether Echocats will be done on single- response questions only, multiple-response questions only or all questions (default).


Shortform: BEEP

Alerts interviewer with a beep when an invalid response is encountered; an error message also appears on the screen. The default is that the error message is displayed without the beep sound.  This only works in terminal mode.


Shortform:  FLAG

Shows all responses in the response list for FIELD question subtype INCLUDE_EXCLUDE, but highlights any that are not allowed this time as responses. (See FIELD QUESTION TYPE). Also available as compiler command to turn on/off during the interview.



When using HIGHLIGHT_CATS mode on FIELD questions to use an interactive screen on a code list, this says to match text the respondent enters to the TEXT of the responses rather than the response CODES. This is very useful if your code lists are alphabetically sorted. You can use subtype MATCH_TEXT_WHEN_HIGHTLIGHTCATS on a particular FIELD question to invoke this for that question only. This header option would apply to all code questions using HIGHLIGHT_CATS mode in the questionnaire.



This specifies what to print on the screen between interviews. The options are additive, that is, “5” would do options 2 + 3, “6” would do 1,2 + 3, “17” would do 16 + 1, etc. The default is “11”, show the # completes, time and interviewer info.

The base options are:
0  Shows nothing
1  Shows the number of starts and completes for that session
2  Shows the current time and time since last interview
4  Shows the time since start of session
8  Shows the interviewer ID device number
16 Shows phone info (# records, # calls made, # completes


This header keyword lets you control what to do with questions prior to the PHONE,START_RESUMABLE_INTERVIEW statement when resuming. The default is to keep the old answers (the ones answered previously). If the option is turned “on,” then you are asking the program to save the responses given in the current interview instead of the original. Be careful when using this because it could affect questionnaire logic if the questions in the main part of the questionnaire are based on actions done by questions prior to the PHONE,START_RESUMEABLE_INTERVIEW.



This controls how far ahead to look for changed or unlabeled questions when resuming. It controls how far ahead to look to find questions without labels that have moved as a result of questionnaire changes you made when trying to resume an old version of the questionnaire. The default is that it will look ahead up to 50 questions before failing.


This shows the response of the previous question at the bottom of the screen of each question. This is useful so the interviewer can remember the response to the prior question.



Shortform: SHOWQLAB

Prints question labels in the lower right corner of the screen during an interview. The default is to not print them unless you are in DEBUG or PRACTICE mode.

Specifying SHOW_QUESTION_LABELS=UR will let you place the question label in the upper right corner of the screen instead of the lower right corner.




The keyword SOUND_FILE_NAME_FORMAT controls whether you get a fully qualified name or other formats. This can be specified in the Survox parmfile or in the questionnaire header. The possible values are:

  • EIGHT_DOT_THREE: This will generate a name that older versions of the PRO-T-S dialer can accept which has Sjjj (julian date), then hhmmss compressed to four characters using base 36, plus a three-character compressed ldev extension.
  • YYMMDDHHMMSS: This is the default for the SURVOX dialer and will make a name “S._” which has the year-month-day-hour- minute-second laid out clearly. It will also include the interviewer ID (four characters) and ldev (five characters) as part of the extension.


Shortform: TEXHELP

Displays “F1 for help, ESC to exit” in the bottom line of a TEXT question response box (terminal mode only) so the interviewer knows what to do at that question type.



Shows the time and time since the start of the interviewing session in minutes, right-justified on the line specified by the number. This is often useful information for interviewers.

For example “10:23 15” would display on the right side of the screen if this is specified, saying the time is 10:23 a.m. and the interview has been running for 15 minutes.