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Bar coding--a functional tool in survey research.
  1. M Siivola,
  2. A Rimpelä,
  3. S Karvonen,
  4. M Rimpelä
  1. Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Finland.


    STUDY OBJECTIVE--The aim was to assess the value of bar coding, together with developed microcomputer programs, as a tool to speed up mailing and handling of return responses of a survey where over 4000 adolescents received a mailed questionnaire. DESIGN--Bar codes were used for displaying the identification number of a questionnaire, as well as each response alternative and number of the question. These bar codes were read by a wand, a handhold scanner, connected to a microcomputer and the data were automatically entered into a computer data file. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS--Compared with previous similar surveys, the use of bar codes did not seem to affect a manner of responding. Bar coding saved human steps in handling of return responses, reduced an error rate, and helped to control the process of work. Bar coding is recommended as a new technical tool for preparations of future large scale surveys.

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