Questionnaire/survey document search

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    We have a new questionnaire search at

    It currently contains a limited number of documents from recent UK social surveys – though the content will expand greatly, such that the documentation from most major UK surveys from the mid-1990s onwards will be searchable by January.

    We’d like to have some feedback on the interface/functionality so that we can improve the search. Perfection is a difficult thing to achieve so, inevitably, there are a few things that we’re not entirely happy with. But we’re happy enough to make this a first release. Constructive comments – critical but not downright mean – welcomed in this discussion thread.

    We’re putting together a list of improvements for the next version as I type!

    Peter Lynn

    Thanks Jack. I’ve just played around with the search a little and it appears to work very well. The content is already quite considerable. The one box that I found less than perfect in its operation was “survey title”. For example, the “England and Wales Youth Cohort Study” is returned if you enter “Youth Cohort Survey” (instead of Study), but not if you enter “English Youth Cohort”. This is clearly a tricky thing to define well. Maybe a drop-down could be included for major studies? (or are there just far too many)?


    I am playing with version 1.1 of the search (due to go live at the end of the month) as I type.

    A drop-down box could be incorporated but as the content builds it would become an unwieldy list! A forthcoming but partial solution to this will be the new set of pages on the major surveys which link directly to a study’s questionnaires by year ( is an example – I would show you the YCS equivalent but Y is a long way after B in the alphabet and that is how I’m progressing!)

    Another solution would be to ask Marie to make the search retrieve questionnaires where ANY words included in the search box match the survey title rather than (or as well as) where ALL the words need to be included to make a hit. This is doable but I’m afraid Marie is already working on her next task – the question-level search – and it may be a while before she gets back to the questionnaire search …

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