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"CPRC - A research organization dedicated to helping people change their behavior for living longer, healthier lives"

CPRC Building

A 19,000 sq. ft. building designed specifically to meet the needs of the Cancer Prevention Research Center (CPRC) is in an ideal location within the social science complex on the URI campus. This exemplary research facility was opened in June 1991 and an addition that doubled the size was opened in January 2000.

The current CPRC building contains 55 offices, a lobby and reception area, three conference rooms, and adaptable research space. Beyond office space, this research setting contains several specially designed areas, including a large telephone survey center (1300 sq. ft.), a large mailing area (420 sq. ft.), and several rooms designed to house the central components of the CPRC computer system.

CPRC Location Map
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URI Kingston Campus Map

 

 

CPRC Computing Resources

The CPRC has two sophisticated local area networks (LANs) linking 108 PC's via Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 network software and operating in an office and client/server environment. The CPRC has 2 full-time computer programmers on staff who develop software, manage databases and assist with the Survey Management System needs, including the Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) system, scheduling assessment calls, intervention production, subject tracking and program monitoring needs. In addition they share responsibilities for maintaining the network, and insuring that the capabilities of the system continue to expand in a manner which meets the needs of research staff.

The primary network consists of 10mb category-4 and category-5 wiring joined in a star formation at Racal and Allied Telesis 10mb concentrators. They, in turn are connected to a 24 port Cisco switch for improved communications speed. The hub is connected via fiber optic cable to the university’s wide area network (WAN). The secondary network consists of 100mb category-5+ wiring joined in a star formation at 3Com 100mb concentrators. It is also connected via fiber optic cable to the university’s WAN. The LANs are configured to allow efficient sharing of software and data between CPRC staff members, while also allowing freedom and flexibility for individual users within their own workstation environments. The LAN also provides fast linkage directly to the URI mainframe via a fiber optic network backbone allowing for extremely fast data transfer rates.

The LAN consists of four dual Pentium II and two single Pentium servers. They have between 64 and 512MB of RAM in each system and a total of 107 GB of online disk storage. There are 45 Pentiums and 58 - 486 class desktop PCs, along with 8 Pentium and 31 - 486 class laptops. The 486 class machines have a minimum of 40 MB of RAM and 1 GB hard drives. They are used primarily as data entry terminals for the CATI System that operates on a dedicated server. The Pentiums have a minimum of 64 MB of RAM and 2 GB hard drives are used for high end graphical development, statistical analysis and software development.

Each LAN includes a number of peripheral devices, as well. Thirty-six laser-jet and color ink-jet printers for graphics and final drafts are available. All data on the system is backed up daily via 3 - 24 GB DAT tape drives. Additionally, the system includes one high resolution Hewlett-Packard flatbed scanner, 4 Fujitsu Image OCR Scanners, and two backup NCS OpScan 5, Model 20/30 optical mark scanners. And there are 7 ELO Touch Screen monitors for data collection. All PCs are connected to APC network surge arrestors with critical equipment plugged into APC uninterruptible power supplies.

Data Analysis Resources Available. The CPRC provides considerable resources to support this grant proposal. This includes access to an IBM ES/9000 mainframe system at the University of Rhode Island Academic Computer Center, which provides large capacity and high speed for statistical analyses that require a premium of space and/or are time intensive. The mainframe system has available a complete set of the basic software packages needed to perform most of the proposed analyses: BMDP (including EQS), SPSS (including LISREL) and SAS. In addition the CPRC at URI has available a large number of Pentium class PCs for data cleaning, data storage and statistical analyses. A large number of statistical, graphical and database management packages are available in the microcomputer environment within the URI CPRC LAN and provide the resources to perform all other analyses that cannot or will not be performed on the mainframe. Available statistical packages include DOS and/or WINDOWS-based versions of SYSTAT, SPSS, SAS, EGRET, EQS, LISREL, and BMDP. Available graphics packages include DOS and/or WINDOWS-based versions of Harvard Graphics, Powerpoint, and SYGRAPH. Available database management packages include DOS and/or WINDOWS-based versions of EXCEL, PARADOX and ACCESS. Other specialized statistical software includes PC versions of popular structural equation modeling programs (LISREL; EQS; EZPATH), power analysis programs (Cohen's; Rossi's, EXSAMPLE), Collins' Discrete Latent Variable Analysis Program, and Velicer's CAX Program. In addition, the URI Academic Computer Center mainframe supports FTP (file transfer protocol) software, which will enable speedy transfer of large data sets over fiber optic data transmission lines. This capability will be used to facilitate periodic off-site storage and updating of all project databases.

Multimedia Resources Available. There are 5 multimedia capable Pentium II PC machines being used for systems development and testing on current projects. In addition, many software packages (and accompanying licenses) are necessary to support various multimedia components: Macromedia’s Authorware, Softvoice, Quicktime for Windows, Adobe Photoshop, and Creative WaveStudio are available to CPRC programming personnel. The University of Rhode Island also maintains additional audiovisual and multimedia resources (such as film and sound studios) which can be used as needed to support multimedia developments.

 

 

Data Management

The CPRC employs a full time database manager, with several part-time assistants. The data manager monitors the integrity of the data files and routine execution of backup procedures. Currently, data is stored on micro-computer hard disks, with at least two back-up tape copies always maintained, one of which is stored off-site. Data is maintained at the CPRC building on either of two LAN systems, each of which is equipped with power failure backup devices and automatic tape backup systems. All data at the CPRC is backed-up automatically each day onto magnetic tape. Data is entered into the system in two ways. Some of the data arrives by mail and is scanned in with an optical scanner. The rest of the data is keyed directly into the computer assisted telephone interview (CATI) system by survey center telephone interviewers when they call subjects. The mail data is checked three times. First there is a visual check of the forms being scanned. Next, the scanner itself rejects unacceptable forms. Finally, the database program lists any surveys that are incomplete or have inconsistent answers. Since the survey center and the CATI system do most of their own data verification, the clean data is sent directly to the central client server database for storage. Clean data is then ready to be used to generate expert system progress reports. The data is routinely exported to ASCII files that can be used with statistical software packages.

The CPRC has developed a computerized Survey Management System (SMS) that integrates mail and telephone survey data collection through a client server network connecting over 40 client stations dedicated to the survey center. The Survey Center has 30 dedicated computers telephone interviewing cubicles, and approximately 90 experienced part-time survey interviewers. 5 486 class computers are used by project supervisors for project monitoring and troubleshooting. The SMS event scheduler provides real time notification to survey staff of all surveys that need to be verified, schedules the call backs and production of intervention reports, and provides database lists of surveys that were not returned and therefore must be completed by phone. Computerized project management reports have been developed that directly access the centralized project databases, providing automated daily project status statistics, which are routinely reviewed to monitor project progress. This system enables prevention, and early detection and correction of database problems related to any of the ongoing survey projects being conducted by the SRC.

Data Entry and Storage.

Data will be entered at the URI Survey Research Center (SRC), using Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) and Optical-Scanning technology. Multiple copies of all project databases are stored in at least two different locations at all times throughout the project to prevent accidental data loss. In addition, the URI mainframe can be accessed directly as an additional data storage site as needed. The URI Academic Computer Center mainframe supports FTP (file transfer protocol) software, which will enable speedy transfer of large data sets over fiber optic data transmission lines.

Data Entry with the Optical Scanner

The SRC employs 4 Fujitsu Image OCR Scanners, and two backup NCS OpScan 5, Model 20/30 optical mark scanners for data collection, which read customized response forms, thus avoiding the expensive and tedious keypunching step. The subjects themselves record the responses directly on the forms, which the clerical staff check for errors before entry. Standard response forms will be developed in the first year for all studies. A laser printer will be used to generate the progress reports for the expert system interventions of all relevant projects.

SURVEY RESEARCH CENTER (SRC)