Since the early 1970′s, the Berkeley campus of the University of California has encouraged the development and dissemination of computer-based techniques for survey research. In 1981, these activities led to the creation of a continuing Program in Computer-assisted Survey Methods (CSM), based on a package of programs which became known as the Berkeley System for Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI). Since that time, the CSM Program has modified and generalized those programs to handle a variety of data collection procedures, and continues to develop (and disseminate) new techniques for the analysis and documentation — as well as as collection — of questionaire-based data. The CSM Program is a part of the Social Science Computing Laboratory which is directed by Professor Merrill Shanks of the Department of Political Science and operates as a development and service unit reporting to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Information Technology. The initial CSM staff was recruited from the campus Survey Reseach Center (SRC). The CSM staff continues to work closely with several SRC projects, but the Program’s computing and consultative services are used by many other organizations, both within and outside the University of California.
In addition to these services, current CSM development activities are primarily dedicated to the Computer Assisted Survey Execution System (CASES) and Survey Documentation and Analysis (SDA). All of the programs involved are being ported to a variety of computers and operating systems.
CSM activities are primarily supported by user charges and cooperative agreements with research organizations elsewhere in the country. In particular, CSM developmental activities are currently supported by an international group of public and private organizations that belong to the Association for Computer-assisted Surveys.
CSM staff members maintain their involvement in survey design and analysis through demonstration surveys in public opinion, disability, and computer utilization.