MMIC™: Multimode Interviewing Capability

MMIC

What's MMIC™?

MMIC™ (Multimode Interviewing Capability) is a comprehensive information system developed by RAND, building on work by CentERdata in The Netherlands. MMIC integrates various traditional modes of collecting interview data, including telephone interviewing, self-administered surveys, and personal interviewing. MMIC is used to manage the whole data collection process from questionnaire design, sample management, and fieldwork monitoring to final dataset production.

The Value of MMIC

In the development of MMIC we concentrated heavily on self-administered surveys using the Internet. We have new, powerful software available to program questionnaires, including visual displays and visual aides. Using the Internet opens up other possibilities, including real time availability of results and the use of alternative technology for interviewing, allowing respondents to participate using devices like PDAs and Smart phones from virtually anywhere in the world. The use of these devices enables new data collection methods such as medical measurements of blood pressure and heart rate at random intervals. MMIC supports the collection of such data.

Hosting of Questionnaires

Researchers interested in using the MMIC capability need not necessarily familiarize themselves with MMIC in one form or other. One can also 'outsource' the whole process of questionnaire programming and Internet interviewing, by having RAND host a questionnaire on its server. The questionnaire can be given any layout and 'feel' desired by the researcher.

Advantages of MMIC over other software packages

MMIC is designed to overcome many of the limitations inherent in existing survey processing suites, particularly for the kind of large-scale CATI/CAPI questionnaires that are currently being fielded. In addition, substantially reduced development times result from a full-featured set of programming tools and from the greatly expanded set of debugging features available in MMIC. As a consequence, greater accuracy and responsiveness to the needs of the researchers can be obtained and programming overhead can be reduced.

Features of MMIC

MMIC bypasses the shortcomings of existing packages by adding unique functionality. MMIC supports two programming interfaces. The first, a (normal) top down programming structure, is built on a programming language that includes objects and integrates easy programming tools like a debugger and a variable viewer. The MMIC programming language allows users to add descriptions to all items in the language, including questions and enumerated answer types. MMIC also supports easy ways to simplify the randomization for questions and answer categories.

The second interface implements a web or graphical user interface to program simple questionnaires without complicated routing. This visual questionnaire builder offers greater control as well as an improved environment for translation work. MMIC also provides extensive built-in non-Western language support. Metadata support for MMIC includes tools to facilitate the rapid production of human-readable representations of the instrument for review and documentation, which otherwise are very time-consuming to produce for a large survey. Perhaps most importantly, MMIC offers comparatively better data extraction capabilities than other packages. These include the ability to easily move data, along with corresponding metadata, directly into current statistical analysis packages such as STATA.

Hardware and software requirements for MMIC

MMIC is platform (and hardware) independent. It can be run on any device that can run a java virtual machine such as laptops with Linux or Windows or even PDAs.

MMIC is used in a number of applications, including RAND projects for Internet Interviewing and the Health and Retirement System, as well as the fielding of a large-scale survey in 12 countries with 17 different languages and 5 different scripts (including Cyrillic, Greek, Arabic, and Hebrew). In general, MMIC is capable of handling both alphabet and character based languages.

MMIC services

If you are interested in learning more about the MMIC system and RAND MMIC services, please contact us at mmic@rand.org.

In addition to the use of MMIC software for programming and hosting surveys, RAND Survey Research Group can provide consultation on overall survey design and questionnaire wording and layout. RAND SRG works with the MMIC platform to ensure that you have the best possible survey design to fit your needs.

For additional information

Krishna Kumar
Director
RAND Labor and Population
krishna_kumar@rand.org
310.393.0411 x7589
1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90407
http://www.rand.org/labor/
http://mmic.rand.org/

David Grant
Director, American Life Panel/MMIC
RAND Labor and Population
david_grant@rand.org
310.393.0411 x7150
1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90407
http://www.rand.org/labor/
http://mmic.rand.org/

Karen Edwards
Manager, American Life Panel/ MMIC
RAND Labor and Population
karen_edwards@rand.org
310.393.0411 x6508
1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90407
http://www.rand.org/labor/
http://mmic.rand.org/