Crunch provides importers that connect directly with commercial data-collection platforms to pull in your data easily and efficiently.
As noted in the Definitive Guide to Importing and Preparing data, a direct import means that valuable metadata from your survey system is not lost (as is often the case with SPSS files).
Each of the importers has their respective strengths and flexibility, which respect to how they map metadata into Crunch.
Updating your direct imports (integrations)
Some importers also allow for continuous updates. That is, they offer the ability to update the dataset with new cases (rows) without having to make an additional dataset. These are called Integrations.
There are two approaches to tracking: Align and combine and Continuous updates. Each is described in the following sections.
Align and combine
- You import new data as a distinct dataset. You then prepare the new dataset (align) so that you can append it (combine) to the target schema (i.e., the main tracker).
- This is the process described in the Definitive Guide to Tracking.
- This is what you need to do if you:
- Import via datafiles (e.g., SPSS, CSV, and so on),
- Are not using one of the direct importers mentioned above, and
- Have different data collection links for each tracking wave.
Continuous updates (integrations)
- This is where you pull data continuously into a single dataset using certain direct importers (see above).
- It is termed an integration because where Crunch detects new cases in the survey platform, Crunch adds them as new rows in the dataset.
- There is no separate explicit alignment process by the user in a separate dataset—the incoming data conform to the Crunch schema via a series of rules.
- The rules are required because if you change the schema in Crunch (e.g., relabel a category), then Crunch needs some basis to decide what to do with the new data.
The ‘rules’ are similar for each of the importers - and the specifics are outlined for each respective importer. The links for those are provided in the table above.