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As is the custom with the Socnet Listserve it is helpful to report back to the list the results of my query.  I received a lot of responses which were quite helpful and my intention is to choose between Qualtrics (since I already know it) and egoweb created by David Kennedy at Rand:



My original post:



I may be embarking on a network study of 1,500 employees and so would need a data collection platform that will allow me to import these 1,500 names from excel and have them auto-coded such that when participants write the first few letters of each person’s name it auto fills with the full name.  It would also be nice if the data can be converted to numeric form for output for analysis.

Does anyone know of such a system?



Thomas W. Valente, PhD

Professor, Institute for Prevention Research

Department of Preventive Medicine

Keck School of Medicine

University of Southern California

Email: [log in to unmask]

Mobile: (310) 977-4123



My girl Corrie got this to work. 

In qualtrics. She has the code.

Are you collecting data in qualtrics?

That's all I got....


And if you want the Qualtrics code for autofilling names, after the first few letters, from a roster, I've got you.


Lynne Messer

Portland State University


Hello Mr. Valente,


Regarding your post on SOCNET…we might be able to provide the support that you need for your research. I can confirm that once I have other details related to your research. We are currently transitioning to a new survey platform called Voxco, which allows for greater flexibility in the coding of surveys – including panel data.


Please let me know if you would like to discuss this further, or if you prefer you can obtain additional details from Jason Disano.


Best regards,


Ana Maria Bogdan

Quantitative Research Manager and Specialist,

Social Sciences Research Laboratories (SSRL)

University of Saskatchewan

Room 3D31, Agriculture Building, 51 Campus Drive

Saskatoon, SK  S7N 5A8

Tel: (306) 966-2965  Fax: (306) 966-8819

E-mail: [log in to unmask]




We met at the Sunbelt conference - and I may have a solution for your question.  I'm currently in the middle of collecting data on a network of 1650 first-year college students ( and have a survey that works as you describe.  On the front end we have a pulldown menu  the participant can start typing the name of any person in the network and it autocompletes the name.  On the back end we have these names coded as IDs before uploading to the survey.


I am ccing my programmer - Michelle Loxley - who built this using out of the box software -  DatStat Illume - and their SDK.  It may be she has ideas to help you.


I don't know how this might work with other systems (Qualtrics and RedCap are other cloud-based systems I'm familiar with), and whether it is possible without having access to the back end, but maybe you or your programmer can brainstorm with Michelle. 


I hope this helps - 


I can't go to Beijing next spring, but I hope our paths cross again soon!





Nancy P. Barnett, Ph.D.

Professor (Research)

Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies

Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs

Brown University School of Public Health

Box G-S121-5, Providence, RI 02912, USA

Tel: +1 (401) 863-6649

Fax: +1 (401) 863-6697

[log in to unmask]



Hi Tom,

Access based forms can do what you describe. 


-Deven Hamilton



Tom have a look at our network survey tool…


Survey respondents can do as you want by typing in the search box for their selections. Can export into a number of forms e.g. Netdraw, Excel, Inflow etc….There are numeric IDs for the names …hope this helps




Laurence Lock Lee PhD
Partner, Optimice Pty Ltd
Ph: +61 (0)407001628


Hi Tom,


We are conducting a similar web-survey within a nation-wide organization (600 employees).


At  Michael is programming such functionality for us. The cost is high nevertheless, about 1000 euros.



José Luis Molina
Associate professor - Professor Titular

Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology -

Edifici B - Carrer de la Fortuna s/n
Campus de la UAB · 08193 Bellaterra
(Cerdanyola del Vallès) · Barcelona · Spain

+34 93 581 11 42
webpage José Luis Molina


Hi Tom,


I am facing a similar issue with data entry from fieldwork that spans several countries and involves numerous field assistants inputting data. I have hired someone to create a database for me that auto-suggests names bases on a previously recorded list in addition to previous entries to reduce error in data entry. We didn't create a user-interface where respondents themselves can enter the data electronically because we are primarily working in developing countries where power can be an issue, but we did discuss the potential for this in future work where we might employ ipads for data collection.


I'd be happy to put you in touch with my data-master (that's the scientific term). I've worked with him before on these types of issues, e.g., he helped me get all the names linked up across several different datasets that had been input by numerous people for my PNAS paper. He's incredible at this type of stuff, but can be slow sometimes since this is not his full time gig (he's definitely worth it if you're not in a rush).


I hope all is well! My student Mbaru is headed back to Kenya in December to collect the second round of data for the diffusion of fishing technology project. We'll be in touch soon to get your thoughts on the follow-up survey!





Michele L. Barnes
NSF SBE Postdoctoral Research Fellow | University of Hawaii
Visiting Scholar | ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies | James Cook University

Website | Publications | New paper in PNAS


Follow me on Twitter @MicheleLBarnes


Hi Tom


We have just collected data in that way using a name generator text field in an online questionnaire. For this we used a JavaScript autocomplete function ( implemented in the questionnaire platform. 


Hope that helps! If you want further details on our experiences with this or the JavaScript-code, please let me know.


All the best, 


ETH Zurich
Timon Elmer
PhD Student 
Chair of Social Networks
Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences
Clausiusstrasse 50
8092 Zürich, Switzerland

Tom, Socioworks can handle that, and also, provide useful long-term data storage and management, project and study management, etc...

Allen Tien

MD Logix


I would personally recommend the following: 


- Use Qualtrics if USC has it. 

- Use the Loop and Merge feature which is basically like series of name interpreter questions.

- You can pipe the name in from the ten or however many alter fields you want into the subsequent name interpreter questions. 

- To get the names to autocomplete, you'll need to attach a jquery autocomplete function to it, with a list that is downloaded by jquery. 


This is an example snippet for this sort of thing in Limesurvey (which I ultimately didn't end up using), but I would still recommend Qualtrics, as it has a lot of nicer features (including good mobile support), including the Loop and Merge. Limesurvey is open source though, but definitely requires IT help getting it on a server. Getting this code working with Qualtrics as a 1-2 day affair for a decent web coder. 


~~~~~ SNIPPET ~~~~~~

$(document).ready(function() {


                                type: "GET",

                                url: "http://PATH_TO_THE_NAMES_LIST/names.txt",

                                dataType: "text",

                                success: function(data) {

                       x = document.getElementsByClassName("answer_cell_00SQ001 answer-item text-item");

                                                for (var i = 0; i < x.length; i++) {



                                                                $( "#" + $(x[i]).children("input")[1].id ).autocomplete( {

                                                                                source: data.split(/\n/)









~~~~~ END SNIPPET ~~~~~


You can ask me offlist for more details if you like. But this is the UI feature that you're looking for. 


Take care, 



Bernie Hogan, PhD

Research Fellow, Oxford Internet Institute

Faculty Fellow, Alan Turing Institute

University of Oxford 



Dear Prof. Valente,

my favourite online survey platform is EFS Unipark (no personal interest in the company), whose licence is definitely reasonably priced for universities (commissioned research to be checked):

I have not used it for SNA data collection (yet), but I know that a few German colleagues used it to this purpose.

If I have well understood, what you are looking for is something like this:

This test question currently handle 2,000 female names as a test, with a quite simple add-on (thanks to Murat Tarakci, now at Erasmus University, Rotterdam).
The name list was imported from excel in a couple of minutes.
In order to use numbers instead of names in the analysis: you can prepare a dictionary file for automatic recode of strings (i.e. names) - a few more minutes in excel. To the best of my knowledge both Stata and Spss may handle this quite easily.

I guess some technical ssues may arise if you plan to dynamically use the selected names in the data collection process (further relational data, alters' attributes,.. ) but I think this has already been addressed in the unipark community.
If interested to this type of solution, please contact me privately and I'd be glad to point you to relevant resources and expertise.

Hope this helps.

Best regards

Teresio Poggio, PhD

Somewhere between and



Here is a better link for EgoWeb info:


That RAND link is not being updated regularly unfortunately, so I created that wiki for greater ease in updating documentation. 


You can upload a roster of names and email addresses and allow for names to auto-complete when a respondent is typing a name.  So if the respondent types the letter "a" all the names with an "a" show up then the list gets shorter as they add other letters.  They can keep typing or click on the name that they are looking for.  You can force them to only pick from the roster or allow them to add names not on the roster. 


As for the numeric export, for multiple choice type questions, each response option text that appears on the screen during interviewing is associated with a number and this number is what is exported into a .csv file. (Text entry questions export text obviously.)


The software is free, open source, and available on github:


Someone just found a bug in the roster auto complete feature that we fixed, so this update is currently in the dev branch.  We will move the changes to the master branch once we test a few other bug fixes.


Tom, let me know if you still have other questions or if you would like to discuss. And, yes, if EgoWeb does not do what you want let me know what that is so that I can add that to the list of things we are trying to add to the platform.


And yes I think this is something that EgoWeb can do.  I think everyone just assumes it is an egocentric only platform because of the name but we added this roster + auto-complete feature for the Illinois high school project.




David P. Kennedy

RAND Corporation

[log in to unmask]

(310) 393-0411, Ext. 6133




Thomas W. Valente, PhD

Professor, Institute for Prevention Research

Department of Preventive Medicine

Keck School of Medicine

University of Southern California

Email: [log in to unmask]

Mobile: (310) 977-4123


Social Networks and Health (2010) Oxford University Press.

Evaluating Health Promotion Programs, (2002) Oxford University Press.

Network Models of the Diffusion of Innovations, (1995) Hampton Press.




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