DPTE – the blog!

Dynamic Process Tracing Environment User Discussion

Category Archives: Announcements


Back Button in Questionnaires; New Delimiter for Multiple Answer Questions; Changes in Social Experiments

Version 3.3.0 of the DPTE Player and Researcher Interface were recently deployed, following an earlier update (3.2.5) detailed below.


BACK Button

This update includes a potentially valuable new feature: the ability to include a “back” button on a Questionnaire. It functions just as you’d expect a “back” button to function, that is, it goes back one Question — unless a Condition tells it otherwise, just like the “next” button. Conditions are fully enabled in “back” mode as well.

When a Subject goes “back” the Subject’s answer to that Question is selected/shown, and can be modified. This only applies within a Questionnaire run — if the same Questionnaire (with the exact same name) is presented again later in an Experiment, no previous filled in answers are shown, and generally earlier answers are lost. So when you want to deploy the same questionnaire mutliple times, you need to duplicate it and name it appropriately. This didn’t change — the only difference with Back mode is, if a Subject answers a Question, then goes “back” to that Question, the response is still there.

The Researcher can define the text of the “back” button in the Experiment Settings, in the section with all the other labels.

Note: if a Subject answers (for example) 10 questions, and then answers Question 11 and hits the “back” button, she will return to Question 10 and see that answer (and can change it). When she goes forward to Question 11 (again) she will see the answer she had already given for Question 11.

However, if a subject answers 10 questions, then stares at Question 11 and doesn’t answer it, but hits “back”, she will not get the “warning” that would appear when not answering a question and going forward. Since she will have to encounter that question again, the system does not require her to provide an answer if she goes “back” from there.


Delimiter Change for Multiple Answer Data

In another minor but important change, the delimiter character for Multiple Answer recording in the subject dataset has changed from a comma to a trio of characters, pipe-colon-pipe, that is,  |:|

This way commas (or pipes) in individual answers won’t conflict with the delimiter. If you are using Multiple Answers and then scanning the subjhect data file for the results, please realize that you will now see this new delimiter between answers, rather than simply a comma.


Social Experiment Update; Making a “shared” item more available during the run of an experiment

We have added a “Shares increase shows” feature, which can optionally increase the number of times a Flow Item is displayed based on how many times it has been Shared (Button #1 must be used as the “share” button for this feature to work).  The options for setup are in the Settings / Social Experiment Options.

There is a checkbox to enable (“click count of Social Button #1 increases Flow Item # of shows”) and a “Divisor” which is used to determine the relation of clicks to additional shows (simply divides and rounds up, so the first Share always adds a “show”). To be eligible, the Flow Item must be Shareable (so it has buttons) and the Experiment must be a Social Experiment.


As always, let us know if you find any problems.


DPTE Version 2.9.95 is Live

We meant to put this announcement up last week. A new version of DPTE was loaded, version 2.9.5. Among the updates in this version are:

1. Bulk Question uploading via XML file (Details on how to do this are in the FAQ on the DPTE landing page at http://www.processtracing.org. Note that this functionality is intended to allow you to author questionnaires outside of DPTE and load them into the system. It requires that you follow a very specific format as detailed in the FAQ.

2. The initial states of every Flow Item in terms of its Button Clicks and Comment Count is now being written when in a Social Experiment so this data can be used later for analysis.

3. The documentation for 3.0 is nearly complete and will be posted when it is.

We have a few more features to add to the system (including Data Cleanup on the Experiment Dashboard for example) but we are nearing a 3.0 version.

Let us know if you find these features useful.

System Restarted

All, DPTE is restarted and now seems to be operating properly. If you find any problems, please let us know.

System Crash

To all DPTE Users,

We appear to have suffered a system crash this evening around 6:45 pm US Central time.  At this time we are not sure what has caused it but the DPTE server is not responding.

The technical support team for DPTE has  been notified. As soon as we have a resolution of the problem, we will post here. But the system may be down for a while since we are now outside of regular working hours.

We apologize for the inconvenience and will do what we can to get the system back up and running as soon as possible.

DPTE Item Repository Available

You may have noticed that when you are first approved to use DPTE you are assigned to two experiments (there may be a little delay in this, but it should happen).  One is experiment 135: DPTE Demo Experiment. This is a dummy that probably doesn’t really work, but which allows you to look around and see how stimulus items, questions, and branches are created. You may do anything you want to this one, since it isn’t a real experiment. That is, you can not only look through it but you can also add things, delete things, and otherwise mess around. Feel free.

The second is what we call our ITEM REPOSITORY (Exp ID 321). The repository is designed to make things easier for everyone. It contains a collection of widely used stimuli, questionnaires, and announcements that you can use in your own studies. Instructions are provided in the Repository experiment on how to copy things to your own experiment. For stimuli it is very easy – for announcements pretty easy – and for questionnaires a little more complex. The details are provided in an announcement in the Repository itself.

So PLEASE FEEL FREE TO USE THESE. Copy them to your own experiment and then you can modify them as needed.

We also ask that you consider adding your own items to the general Repository for the benefit of all users. Again this is pretty easy for stimuli – from your own experiment you go to the stimulus area, choose “duplicate”, and using the pull down list you select the items to copy. Select the experiment ITEM REPOSITORY as the location to copy to, choose the ones you want to copy, and you will have contributed to the greater good!

For other items (questionnaires and announcements) the process is more complex, but is the reverse of the instructions on copying TO the Repository. Let us know if you have questions.