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Confidence based selection for survey sampling

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Title: Confidence based selection for survey sampling.
Abstract: A system and method for confidence-based selection of items for use in conducting a computer-implemented survey. The survey presents information about a selected plurality of items to a survey participant, to elicit survey feedback information. Information regarding the plurality of items is stored, the stored information including display information about each of the plurality of items for presentation to a survey participant. A subset of items for presentation to a survey participant is selected in accordance with a predetermined selection algorithm. Information corresponding to the selected subset of items is displayed to the survey participant via a survey user interface. Rating information is input by the survey participant via the survey user interface indicating the survey participant's preferences as to items in the presented subset of items. The rating information is utilized in various manners to affect the selection algorithm for a subsequent survey. ...


Browse recent patents - Montreal, CA
Inventor: James R. Azar
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120109714 - Class: 705 732 (USPTO) - 05/03/12 - Class 705 


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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120109714, Confidence based selection for survey sampling.

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FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a computer implementation of algorithms and methods for collecting and ranking ideas, people, or any other items. This invention further relates to use of a survey-like mechanism to obtain a prioritized or ranked list of items. The mechanism may be implemented using a network, such as the Internet.

BACKGROUND

Many entities, including those that conduct business over the Internet, find it beneficial to conduct surveys to determine what products should be offered, what services should be made available, what content should be present on a website, and so forth. Such surveys may be presented to a user after a transaction, such as the purchase of a product. Alternatively, the survey may be presented to a user independent of any particular transaction. Existing survey systems use a variety of delivery mechanisms including email invitations, banner adds, popup windows, and links on websites. The layout and presentation of the survey questions may be customized by the author of the survey to the extent allowable by the electronic survey system.

Typical survey systems allow the survey participant to respond via email, website, web application, web applet, or a client specifically designed to accept, transmit, or store the responses. The responses may take on a variety of forms including, but not limited to, single choice, multiple choice, rating scale, and text responses. Electronic survey systems typically gather the responses in a database or other electronic storage mechanism. The response data often becomes the subject matter for various reports, graphs, charts, and analysis. The reporting analysis tools are often separate from the actual survey systems themselves.

Various survey systems are presently available that allow electronic surveys to be authored and transmitted over the Internet. The existing systems use a variety of participation models. Some of the systems use an invitation-based system, in which an invitation is sent to the participant via email or other form of electronic message. The email invitations may or may not contain information to identify the person invited to the survey. Some systems use an open model that allows any visitor to a website to follow a link and respond to an electronic survey without ever identifying himself. There is also a self-registration model, where the participants identify themselves during a registration process before taking the survey.

There are several challenges associated with the use of surveys to gather information. It has been established that response rates to surveys typically decline as the amount of time required to respond increases. If the survey is too long or time-consuming, the user may not complete the survey. At the same time, the number of respondents is often a critical factor in the accuracy of a survey. The survey may not be effective if too few questions are asked of the user. Further, the questions and answer choices are predetermined by the author prior to the survey being made available for participants to respond. Thus, additional ideas of the user may not be captured.

Various efforts have been made to address these challenges. For example, to minimize the number of questions asked, some presently available electronic survey systems enable the author of the survey to specify the presentation order and skip certain survey questions based on the answers to previous questions. But even in such systems, the author of the survey writes all of the questions and answer choices.

Another way to reduce the length of the survey is to show the participant only a subset of the entire list of possible questions. There is one known company who offers the ability to show a participant a subset of the entire list. Informative, Inc. (Brisbane, Calif.) offers a product that allows a participant to select a subset of items from a larger list (that is a subset of all available items), and then arrange the subset into order according to the participant\'s preference.

Such systems are based on the premise that items that are receiving high rankings from respondents should be presented more often than items that are receiving low rankings. These systems consider a data collection effort to be either mature or immature, depending on the number of responses. This maturity status applies to the entire set of items. When the data collection effort is in the immature state, the items are presented to the respondents at random. When a sufficient number of responses is collected and the data collection is considered mature, the selection process shifts to selecting items with higher rankings to present to subsequent respondents. While this may be appropriate in some instances, it is limited in applicability and does not consider some other important factors that can be used to select a sample.

Some electronic survey systems have attempted to gather new items from a population of participants by enabling the participant to enter a text answer. However, to enable rapid processing of the survey results, such questions are typically limited in number, which places an artificial limitation on the number of items any one participant can submit. Furthermore, the items that are input are often deposited in a database with little information about the importance of the items.

Thus, there remains a need for a process for ranking items, people, or any other items in a manner that encourages participation and achieves high response rates. There further remains a need for a system that is able to collect items from the user and incorporate such items such that the new items are available for ranking by other participants.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to a computer based system for estimating the preference of a list of items as perceived by a population of participants, even though each participant rates only a subset of the entire list of items available for presentation. Since complete data will not likely be available, and the participants who do respond will most likely not completely agree on which items are most important, the present invention uses statistical computations to use the data that is available to most accurately estimate the order of preference that best fits the entire population. The amount of data and the quality of the data actually collected determines how accurate the estimated order actually reflects the order of preference for the population.

The system of the present invention increases the number of participant responses by decreasing the amount of time required for each respondent to express his preferences. To do so, only a subset of the complete list of items is presented to each participant, so that each participant is more likely participate and provide data. By increasing participation, the data is less likely to be biased toward the preferences of a few of the participants.

The system of the present invention is focused in particular on selecting the subset of items to be presented to each person of the population. The items are selected in a manner that improves the confidence in the estimated order of preference of the entire set of items.

According to one aspect, the present invention is a method for conducting a computer-implemented survey relating to a plurality of items from a plurality of survey participants. The invention of this aspect comprises a number of steps that include storing information regarding the plurality of items, the stored information including display information about each of the plurality of items for presentation to a survey participant and presentation number information corresponding to the number of times a particular item has been previously shown to survey participants, selecting a subset of items for presenting to a survey participant in accordance with a predetermined selection algorithm that utilizes the presentation number information to influence the selection of items for the subset, presenting the display information corresponding to the selected subset of items is presented to the survey participant via a survey user interface, and receiving rating information input by the survey participant via the survey user interface indicating the survey participant\'s preferences as to items in the subset of items presented.

In accordance with this first aspect, the method may further include the step of utilizing the rating information input by the survey participant to affect the probability of selection of the items in the selected subset in a subsequent selection of a subset of items for presentation to a subsequent survey participant using the predetermined selection algorithm.

In further accordance with this first aspect, the predetermined selection algorithm utilizes an adjustment factor to cause items to be selected more or less often as a function of the rating information obtained by previous participants of a survey. Further still, the predetermined selection algorithm utilizes, at least in part, a random number selection of items in the plurality of items.

The plurality of items may include a predetermined duplication of items in a set of the plurality of items, with the number of duplications of particular items influenced by the rating information.

In further accordance with this first aspect, the predetermined selection algorithm is self-adjusting based on previous responses received during a previous survey of the plurality of items. The self-adjusting may be based on modifying the probability of selecting an item from the plurality of items, the modifying in turn based collection of new items input by survey participants and rating of new items in comparison of previously included items.

In further accordance with this first aspect, the predetermined selection algorithm is operative initially to randomly select items for the subset of items, and thereafter operative to select items based on utilization of the rating information. The probability of selection of a given item may be continuously adjusted as items are rated by survey participants.

In accordance with a second aspect of the invention, the present invention is another method for conducting a computer-implemented survey relating to a plurality of items from a plurality of survey participants. The invention of this aspect comprises a number of steps that include storing information regarding the plurality of items in a memory, the stored information including display information about each of the plurality of items for presentation to a survey participant and frequency information corresponding to the number of times a particular item has been previously shown to survey participants. The method further includes the step of selecting a subset of items for presenting to a survey participant in accordance with a predetermined selection algorithm that utilizes the frequency information. The method further includes the step of presenting the display information corresponding to the selected subset of items to the survey participant via a survey user interface. The method further includes the step of receiving rating information input by the survey participant via the survey user interface indicating the survey participant\'s preferences as to items in the subset of items presented. The method further includes the step of utilizing the rating information input by the survey participant to affect the probability of selection of the items in the selected subset in a subsequent selection of a subset of items for presentation to a subsequent survey participant using the predetermined selection algorithm.

In accordance with this second aspect, the rating information is selected from the group comprising: ranking of items relative to each other, ranking of the items on a scale, grading the items, ordering of the items, allocating points among items, scaling the items, choosing an item over other items, categorizing items, and other equivalent methods of indicating a preference of one item over another.

In further accordance with this second aspect, the step of selecting a subset of items in accordance with the predetermined selection algorithm comprises selecting based on a ranking of items using rating information from previous participants, such that the probability of selection of particular items for presenting in a subsequent survey is influenced by the rating information. In this manner, certain items that have been rated lower than other items are more likely to be selected for a survey so as to increase the number of presentations of such items.

In further accordance with this second aspect, the method comprises the step of providing the rating information for each item as an output of the method indicative of survey results.

In the foregoing and most aspects of the invention, the memory is a random access memory array. Information regarding the plurality of items is stored in an ordered array, for example in the memory, and selected according to a probability index. The information about each item in the ordered array is stored in a data field in the ordered array.

In further accordance with the second aspect, the subset of items selected for presentation to the survey participant is an initial subset, and the subsequent selection of a set of items for presentation comprises a selection from the plurality of items that may include one or more of the items from the initial subset.

In further accordance with the second aspect, the information regarding the plurality of items includes a unique identifier for each item for use as a primary key to access the item in the memory.

In further accordance with the second aspect, the method further comprises the step of storing a users item table for storing information provided by a survey participant relating to an additional item for inclusion in the plurality of items.

In accordance with various aspects of the invention, not limited to the first or second, the information regarding the plurality of items includes status information about each item. The status information is indicative whether an item has been previously shown to a survey participant or not. The predetermined selection algorithm also utilizes the status information in conjunction with the frequency information. The frequency information may be stored in a times-shown field for each item in the array.

In further accordance with the second aspect, the predetermined selection algorithm utilizes a selection score in selecting items for presentation. The selection score is based upon a confidence score. The selection score is further based on an adjusted mean rating determined from the rating information. The selection score is further based on a rank influence factor. The rank influence factor is an arbitrary number used to adjust the probability of an item being selected based on ranking information. The ranking information comprises information corresponding to the actual ranking of an item in relation to other items in the plurality of items.

In further accordance with the second aspect, the selection algorithm selects an item from the plurality of items based on a computation of a probability index. The probability index is determined based on a normalized selection score. The normalized selection score is utilized to determine a probability of selection for each item in the plurality of items, the probability of selection of each item is used to determine how many times an item is represented in the plurality of items for selection.

In further accordance with various aspects of the invention, not limited to the first or second aspect, the plurality of items are represented in a computer system as a pool of selectable items stored in an array of items, with each item in the pool having a high index number and a low index number, with the index numbers representing how many times an item is represented in the pool of selectable items, and wherein the step of selecting a subset of items comprises selecting from the pool of items based on a random number used to index into the array of index numbers. The subset of items for presenting to a survey participant is selected by repeating the step of selecting utilizing the random number, until a predetermined number of items corresponding to the size of the selected subset of items has been chosen for presentation.

In further accordance with various aspects of the invention, not limited to the first or second, a selected subset of items comprises a unique sample of items in the plurality of items of a predetermined sample size that meets predetermined selection criteria according to status information associated with the item. The predetermined sample size comprises the maximum number of items presented to a survey participant in the survey. The status information comprises information indicative of a condition associated with an item. The status information may be selected according to various criteria, for example, whether an item is scheduled, whether an item has been approved, whether an item is implemented, whether an item is active, whether an item is in or under review, whether an item has been submitted, whether an item has been declined, or other equivalent information indicative of a condition of an item.

In further accordance with various aspects of the invention, not limited to the first or second, the selected subset of items is selected for presentation based at least in part on an indication of interest of a participant. The indication of interest of a participant is obtained by input of interest information by a survey participant in response to a query prior to selection of the subset. The indication of interest of a participant is obtained by examining items previously submitted by the survey participant, and by selecting other items from the plurality of items based on the topical similarity of other items in the plurality of items. The indication of interest of a participant may be obtained by executing a query of keywords relating to items submitted by the survey participant.

In further accordance with various aspects of the invention, not limited to the first or second, the selected subset of items for presentation is a first selected subset of a predetermined small number of items, where “small” is relative but determined based on a number that is deemed by a survey manager to be acceptable for purposes of a particular survey, and further comprising the step of selecting additional items for presentation to a survey participant. The step of selecting additional items for presentation to a survey participant is based on information provided by a survey participant indicating a desire to view and rate more items. The survey participant is provided with a display offering an opportunity to request an additional sample of items for rating, and wherein the information provided by the survey participant indicating a desire to view and rate more items is input by the survey user interface. The opportunity to request an additional sample of items for rating is typically providing during a survey session.

According to a third aspect, the present invention is a method for conducting a computer-implemented survey of a plurality of items. The invention of this aspect comprises a number of steps that include arranging the plurality of items in a memory in ordered array, providing a unique identifier for each item in the array; providing information about each item in the array for presentation to a survey participant, providing a status information field for each item in the array, providing a times-shown field for each item in the array, selecting a subset of items for presenting to a survey participant in accordance with a predetermined selection algorithm that utilizes the information in the times-shown field of the items, presenting information corresponding to the selected subset of items to the survey participant via a survey user interface, receiving rating information input by the survey participant via the survey user interface indicating the survey participant\'s preferences as to the subset of items presented, and utilizing the rating information input by the survey participant to affect the probability of selection of the items in the selected subset of times for a subsequent selection of a set of items for presentation to a subsequent survey participant using the predetermined selection algorithm.

According to a fourth aspect, the present invention is a method for conducting a computer-implemented survey relating to a plurality of items from a plurality of survey participants. The invention of this aspect comprises a number of steps that include receiving rating information input by a particular subset of a plurality of survey participants via a survey user interface indicating the survey participants\' preferences as to items in a presented subset of items of the plurality of items, computing the mean of the rating information, computing the standard error of the mean of the rating information, determining a confidence score utilizing the standard error of the rating information, and utilizing the confidence score to select a different subset of the plurality of items for presentation to a different subset of the plurality of survey participants. In this manner, items that might benefit from additional ratings by additional participants are selected for presentation in a subsequent survey.

According to a fifth aspect, the present invention is a method for dynamically selecting a subset of items from a plurality of items for presentation to a survey participant in a computer-implemented survey relating to the plurality of items. The invention of this aspect comprises a number of steps that include storing rating information input by a plurality of prior survey participants indicating such prior survey participants\' preferences as to items in one or more subsets of items presented to such survey participants in a prior survey, determining the number of participants that have previously rated particular items in the plurality of items, determining a measure of agreement by the determined number of participants on the stored rating information of the particular previously rated items in the plurality of items, utilizing the measure of agreement on the ratings of such previously rated particular items to adjust the probability of selection of such previously rated particular items for a subsequent selection, and selecting a subset of items for presentation to the survey participant as a function of the adjusted probability of selection.

In accordance with this and various other aspects of the invention, the measure of agreement comprises the standard deviation of the mean ratings provided by the prior survey participants, or alternatively comprises the average of the mean ratings provided by the prior survey participants.

In accordance with this and various other aspects of the invention, the step of continuously changing the items in the selected subset of items based on a determined measure of agreement on the stored rating information on previously rated items.

According to a sixth aspect, the present invention is a method for dynamically selecting a subset of items from a plurality of items for presentation to a survey participant in a computer-implemented survey relating to the plurality of items. The invention of this aspect comprises a number of steps that include storing rating information input by a plurality of prior survey participants indicating such prior survey participants\' preferences as to items in one or more subsets of items presented to such survey participants in a prior survey, determining the number of participants that have previously rated particular items in the plurality of items, determining a measure of agreement by the determined number of participants on the stored rating information of the particular previously rated items in the plurality of items, continuously adjusting the probability of selection of such previously rated particular items for a subsequent selection based on the determined measure of agreement on the stored rating information on previously rated items, and selecting a subset of items for presentation to the survey participant as a function of the adjusted probability of selection.

According to this and various other aspects of the invention, the measure of agreement comprises the standard deviation of the mean ratings provided by the prior survey participants, or the average of the mean ratings provided by the prior survey participants.

This sixth and other aspects of the invention may also include the step of continuously changing the items in the selected subset of items based on the determined measure of agreement on the stored rating information on previously rated items.

According to a seventh aspect, the present invention is a method for conducting a computer-implemented survey relating to a plurality of items from a plurality of survey participants in a manner that survey participants can contribute new items. The invention of this aspect includes a number of steps including storing information regarding the plurality of items in a memory, the stored information including display information about each of the plurality of items for presentation to a survey participant, selecting a subset of items for presenting to a survey participant in accordance with a predetermined selection algorithm, presenting the display information corresponding to the selected subset of items to the survey participant via a survey user interface, receiving rating information input by the survey participant via the survey user interface indicating the survey participant\'s preferences as to items in the subset of items presented, receiving information input by the survey participant corresponding to an additional item for inclusion in the plurality of items, and selecting a second subset of items from the plurality of items that now includes the additional item for presenting to a subsequent survey participant in accordance with the predetermined selection algorithm.

According to this seventh and various other aspects of the invention, the method may further include the step of utilizing the rating information input by the survey participant to affect the probability of selection of the items in a subsequent selection of a subset of items for presentation to a subsequent survey participant. The information input by the survey participant is provided via an additional item submission user interface.

According to an eighth aspect, the present invention is a method for conducting a computer-implemented survey relating to a plurality of items from a plurality of survey participants, with an adjustment factor applied to the probability of selection. The invention of this aspect comprises a number of steps including storing information regarding the plurality of items in a memory, the stored information including display information about each of the plurality of items for presentation to a survey participant, conducting a selection operation involving selecting a subset of items for presenting to a survey participant in accordance with a function that utilizes a probability of selection, presenting the display information corresponding to the selected subset of items to the survey participant via a survey user interface, receiving rating information input by the survey participant via the survey user interface indicating the survey participant\'s preferences as to items in the subset of items presented, determining an adjustment factor for the probability of selection of items in the subset of items as a function of the number of times that the items have already been selected and presented to previous survey participants; and applying the adjustment factor to the probability of selection for a subsequent selection operation.

According to a ninth aspect, the present invention is a method for conducting a computer-implemented survey relating to a plurality of items from a plurality of survey participants, wherein the selection of items is influenced by an adjustment factor derived from previous ratings. The invention of this aspect comprises a number of steps that include storing information regarding the plurality of items, the stored information including display information about each of the plurality of items for presentation to a survey participant, conducting a selection operation involving selecting a subset of items for presenting to a survey participant in accordance with a function that utilizes a probability of selection, presenting the display information corresponding to the selected subset of items to the survey participant via a survey user interface, receiving rating information input by the survey participant via the survey user interface indicating the survey participant\'s preferences as to items in the subset of items presented, determining an adjustment factor for the probability of selection of items in the subset of items as a function of the rating information on items that have already been selected and presented to previous survey participants; and applying the adjustment factor to the probability of selection for a subsequent selection operation.

According to a tenth aspect, the present invention is a method for conducting a computer-implemented survey relating to a plurality of items from a plurality of survey participants, having a transitional selection process. The invention of this aspect comprises a number of steps including storing information regarding the plurality of items, the stored information including display information about each of the plurality of items for presentation to a survey participant, conducting a selection operation involving selecting a subset of items for presenting to a survey participant in accordance with a function that utilizes a probability of selection, the selection operation initially operative to select a subset of items on random basis, presenting the display information corresponding to the selected subset of items to the survey participant via a survey user interface, receiving rating information input by the survey participant via the survey user interface indicating the survey participant\'s preferences as to items in the subset of items presented; determining an adjustment factor for the probability of selection of items in the subset of items as a function of the rating information on items that have already been selected and presented to previous survey participants and on the number of survey participants that have rated particular items, and applying the adjustment factor to the probability of selection for a subsequent selection operation. In this manner, the probability of each item being selected is continuously adjusted to be less random and more biased toward selection of unrated items and/or infrequently viewed items as items are rated by survey participants and rating information on particular items is collected.

According to an eleventh aspect, the present invention is a method for conducting a computer-implemented survey relating to a plurality of items from a plurality of survey participants, involving defined criteria or predefined attributes for selection of items. The invention of this aspect includes a number of steps including storing information regarding the plurality of items in a memory, the stored information including display information about each of the plurality of items for presentation to a survey participant and predefined attribute information relating to predetermined attributes of each of the plurality of items, conducting a selection operation involving selecting a subset of items for presenting to a survey participant in accordance with a function that utilizes the predefined attribute information, presenting the display information corresponding to the selected subset of items to the survey participant via a survey user interface, and receiving rating information input by the survey participant via the survey user interface indicating the survey participant\'s preferences as to items in the subset of items presented.

In accordance with this aspect of the invention, the selection operation is further a function of probability of selection of the plurality of items as well as the attribute information. The method may further include steps of determining an adjustment factor for the probability of selection of items in the subset of items as a function of the rating information on items that have already been selected and presented to previous survey participants and on the number of survey participants that have rated particular items, and applying the adjustment factor to the probability of selection for a subsequent selection operation. In this manner, the probability of each item being selected is continuously adjusted to be less random and more biased toward selection of unrated items and/or infrequently viewed items as items are rated by survey participants and rating information on particular items is collected. The attribute information may comprises one or more of the following: a category, originator, priority, purpose, or other types of criteria or attributes.

According to a twelfth aspect, the present invention is a method for conducting a computer-implemented survey relating to a plurality of items from a plurality of survey participants, wherein an indication of participant willingness is utilized. The invention of this aspect comprises a number of steps that include (a) storing information regarding the plurality of items in a memory, the stored information including display information about each of the plurality of items for presentation to a survey participant; (b) conducting a selection operation involving selecting a subset of items for presenting to a survey participant in accordance with a predetermined function; (c) presenting the display information corresponding to the selected subset of items to the survey participant via a survey user interface; (d) receiving rating information input by the survey participant via the survey user interface indicating the survey participant\'s preferences as to items in the subset of items presented; (e) receiving an indication input by a survey participant of willingness to view and rate additional items; and (f) in response to receipt of the indication input by a survey participant of willingness to view and rate additional items, conducting a subsequent selection operation (b) and repeating the steps (c) through (f).

According to a thirteenth aspect, the present invention is a method for conducting a computer-implemented survey relating to a plurality of items from a plurality of survey participants, wherein a determination that more rating data is needed is made and utilized. The invention of this aspect comprises a number of steps that include storing information regarding the plurality of items in a memory, the stored information including display information about each of the plurality of items for presentation to a survey participant, conducting a selection operation comprising selecting a subset of items for presenting to a survey participant in accordance with a predetermined selection algorithm, presenting the display information corresponding to the selected subset of items to the survey participant via a survey user interface, receiving rating information input by the survey participant via the survey user interface indicating the survey participant\'s preferences as to items in the subset of items presented, determining that particular item in the plurality of items should be presented more frequently so as to obtain additional rating data; and adjusting a parameter of the predetermined selection algorithm so as to increase the likelihood that the particular item will be selected during a subsequent selection operation for a subsequent survey.

According to this and various other aspects of the invention, the step of adjusting a parameter of the selection algorithm comprise computing a confidence score among two or more items in the plurality of items, comparing the confidence scores, and using the results of the comparison to adjust the probability of selection of a particular item for which additional data is needed. The parameter of the selection algorithm may be adjusted as a function of the number of survey participants that have previously rated the particular item. The parameter of the selection algorithm may be adjusted as a function of the ratings of the particular item by survey participants that have previously rated the particular item.

According to a fourteenth aspect, the present invention is a method for conducting a computer-implemented survey relating to a plurality of items from a plurality of survey participants, wherein a determination that more data is needed for newer items is made and utilized. The invention of this aspect comprises a number of steps that include storing information regarding the plurality of items in a memory, the stored information including display information about each of the plurality of items for presentation to a survey participant, conducting a selection operation comprising selecting a subset of items for presenting to a survey participant in accordance with a predetermined selection algorithm, presenting the display information corresponding to the selected subset of items to the survey participant via a survey user interface, receiving rating information input by the survey participant via the survey user interface indicating the survey participant\'s preferences as to items in the subset of items presented, determining that a particular item in the plurality of items is relatively newer item than other items in the plurality of items, and adjusting the predetermined selection algorithm so as to increase the likelihood that the relatively newer item will be selected during a subsequent selection operation for a subsequent survey. In this manner, a relatively newer item will be presented more frequently so as to obtain additional survey data for such newer item.

According to this and various other aspects of the invention, the method may further include a step of receiving new item information input by a survey participant corresponding to the submission of a new item for inclusion in the plurality of items for the survey, such that the new item is the relatively newer item. The relatively newer item may be determined according to the time of inclusion of the item in the plurality of items, compared with other items. The relatively newer item may also be determined according to the number of times that the item has been presented in prior surveys. The relatively newer item may also be determined according to the frequency that the item has been presented in prior surveys. It will be appreciated that the “frequency” an item is presented is not the same thing as the number of times an item is presented, for example, a frequency of presentation could be “this item should be presented in 3 out of every 10 surveys,” while the number of times presented could merely be an absolute number.

According to a fifteenth aspect, the present invention is a method for conducting a computer-implemented survey relating to a plurality of items from a plurality of survey participants, with random selection of items biased by the need for more data. The invention of this aspect comprises a number of steps that include storing information regarding the plurality of items in a memory, the stored information including display information about each of the plurality of items for presentation to a survey participant and frequency information indicating a number of times that items in the plurality of items have been presented in a survey, biasing the plurality of items as a function of the frequency information in anticipation of a selection operation, conducting a probabilistic selection operation comprising a random selection within the plurality of items to select a subset of items for presenting to a survey participant, presenting the display information corresponding to the selected subset of items to the survey participant via a survey user interface, and receiving rating information input by the survey participant via the survey user interface indicating the survey participant\'s preferences as to items in the subset of items presented. In this manner, a biased random selection of items to be presented is conducted so as to avoid presenting only newer, less frequently presented items to later survey participants and to ensure presentation of some early ideas to such later survey participants.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120109714 A1
Publish Date
05/03/2012
Document #
13348316
File Date
01/11/2012
USPTO Class
705/732
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
06Q10/00
Drawings
13



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