Article #41: Keypoint from Longman

Tim Macer reviews a new survey package that makes it easy and cheap to get your questionnaire up and running

Straight to the point


Keypoint, launched a couple of months ago, is a completely new all-in-one survey package with integrated Web, e-mail and CAI support that offers amazing value. Just £1,000 buys survey design and analysis for a single user with unlimited multi-media interviewing. For Longman Software, a part of the Pearson publishing empire, it is the first significant revamp of the Pinpoint questionnaire package. Sitting near the bottom rung of the survey package ladder and selling for only £500, Pinpoint had nonetheless brought questionnaires and cross-tabs to a massive 17,000 users.
Though Keypoint offers a migration path to Pinpoint, it is essentially a fresh start. For occasional users, wizards guide you through all the steps of questionnaire design, data entry and analysis. Unlike its predecessor, a right mouse click brings you context-sensitive properties sheets and options to customise everything to suit your taste. A very simple, uncluttered screen with tabs at the top and the bottom make navigation from design stages to analysis stages a one-click operation.
Switch off the wizards, start pushing this tool and you realise this is a grown-up research package for grown up researchers. It is packed with features: question libraries, independent style sheets, sig. tests on tables, optional automatic refresh when data are added, spell checker on questionnaires and reports, complex routing... the list goes on.
Underneath is a real industrial strength database engine – not Access – that lets you do incredible things. For instance, simply make multiple 'views' of the same questionnaire using copy and paste, then add new questions or answers. The database handles all these differences so unobtrusively you wonder if it has noticed what you are doing. By this simple device, it is offering you a completely
Keypoint pros and cons
Pros Attractive program with a good range of facilities
Unlimited email and web support included
A lot for your money
Cons Data entry module too slow
Data import/export limited and no triple-s support

A basic knowledge of website design will see you getting your survey on the internet

automatic change management system for continuous surveys and opens up effortless management of trackers or wave studies, questionnaire variations for different countries, language translations and even combination web/paper/CAI surveys.
There is also good news for anyone wanting to do interviews in Chinese. Longman claims the product to be 'double byte ready', which means it can handle Asian characters, something almost no-one can do at present.
The integrated web and e-mail facilities are something to make everyone sit up and look. It creates the HTML page and a 'Perl' script that is the web-server program needed to run all the validation checks. It is an ingenious and very simple-to-use solution. A very basic knowledge of website design will see you through to getting your survey live on the Internet.
The email survey facility is a treat and could be the single reason many people buy this package. Buy an email sample from a reputable source, add it to your survey and Keypoint will despatch plain text versions of the questionnaire to each contact. Respondents simply reply by placing an 'X' or typing in their answers into the email message between the square brackets that are used to delimit the answer fields. Usefully, Keypoint acts as your e-mail client for both despatch and returns. An import option strips away all but the data and loads this directly into the database for analysis. It is quick, simple and could have you

looking at a base of 1000 completes just a couple of hours later.
As you would expect from a book publisher, the manual is exemplary and the on-line help is readable and comprehensive. It is English-only at present, but negotiations with distribution channels continue and other versions are likely in due course.
On the negative side, the data entry capabilities are very limited, being aimed at desktop users rather than data entry staff. Although data can be imported from other sources, allowing you to subcontract your data entry work, there is no useful support for this process in terms of file formats and definitions, and it is the point where manual and help become vague. Neither is any support offered for triple-s imports and exports, which is a pity and for power users, this is the point where things could get sticky.
Sadly, at the time of writing, Longman was unable to provide any clients for me to speak to. But I did see the software with my own eyes, and have been playing with it ever since. If you are looking for a survey solution that is simple to use for paper, email or web, Keypoint seems to be the no-expense-spared program that could pay for itself on just one survey.

Longman Software Publishing

Tim Macer writes as an independent specialist in software for market research. His website is at

Published in Research, the magazine of the Market Research Society, May 2000, Issue 408.

© Copyright Tim Macer/Market Research Society 2000. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission.

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