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Module: AIS

Carsten Wickner edited this page Sep 16, 2017 · 2 revisions

Autobiographical Interview Scoring


The Autobiographical Interview is a method to tease apart the forms of memory that contribute to a participant’s description of a remembered past event. Discrete units of information are parsed and classified as either internal (episodic: event, place, time, perceptual, emotion/thought) or external (semantic, generic event, other episodic event, repetition, other) detail types. It is a useful instrument for quantifying personal remote memory retrieval e.g. in younger/older adults or in patients (see Aging and autobiographical memory; Levine et al. 2002). Completing this scoring in the traditional paper-based manner is prone to errors and requires additional effort for further processing and regarding compliance. The AIS tool allows interview scoring in a digital format that enables automated tallying of details, digital storage of scored transcripts, and easier exchange of produced files.


The SciToS AIS module allows you to insert the transcribed interview text. You can focus on scoring it, while the assigned detail categories are being tallied automatically. The results are displayed on the project’s tab and can be exported to an ODS file (Open Document Spreadsheet). A project may contain any number of interviews. The project’s XML based file format can be saved and reopened at any time. In order to avoid data loss or inconsistencies, a saved project is immediately opened in the background and validated against the currently open version. You can also export the whole project as HTML file in order to view it in a conventional browser or print it from there.

As the assignable categories are completely configurable, you could use the tool for any kind of manual scoring. The application’s preferences (i.e. settings) allow you – in addition to set the user interface’s language, Look and Feel, and the maximum number of un-doable actions – to define the default detail categories for new AIS projects. The detail categories are included in the individual project and can therefore differ for each new project.

The main features are available via the menu and/or icons in the tool bar. The latter also contains the buttons for assigning detail categories to a selected text part in an interview.


  1. How can I create a new project/open a project?
    You can either click on the buttons New: AIS Project/Open on the welcome-page or use the the respective items in the File menu. When creating a new file you will be asked to select the destination folder and specify a name of the file which will then be used as the project’s name.
  2. How do I add a new interview?
    You can either click on the button Add new Interview on your project tab or use the respective icon in the toolbar. You will be asked to specify the participant’s ID or any kind of classification. All interviews with a unique ID will be listed alphabetically. You can also add interviews having the same ID. In this case it will be numbered automatically.
  3. How do I navigate through the project tree on the left?
    Whenever you click on an interview in the project tree on the left, the corresponding interview page will open on the right and vice versa. If you have two interviews with the same ID, a folder icon is displayed in the structure tree. You can use the path nodes to hide/show certain paths.
  4. I opened a lot of interview tabs while navigating through the structure tree. Is there a possibility to close them all at once?
    Yes, just right-click on a tab’s label and you are able to choose between closing this tab, closing other tabs, or closing all tabs at once.
  5. How can I change an interview’s participant ID and sort or delete interviews?
    By right-clicking on a certain interview, you can change the assigned participant ID or delete the interview. If you have two interviews with the same ID, you can change their order by clicking on the respective folder icon in the project tree which will open a tab where you can rearrange them using the arrow icons.
  6. How does the scoring work?
    You need to insert the transcribed interview into the text field on the right and then click on the Start Scoring button in the top right corner. Note that once you assigned the first detail category you cannot make further changes to the transcribed text. To assign a detail category, you need to select the text part via mouse or keyboard combination (SHIFT and arrow keys) and then click on the corresponding category button or use the configured keyboard shortcut. Use the undo/redo or remove function in order to correct your choices. You are also able to interleave detail categories which will be labelled in parentheses.
  7. How can I change my detail categories (and their names/shortcuts/colors)?
    You must have a project loaded and click on EditModify Detail Categories. You can add new root/child categories, rename them (max. five characters), give them a longer name/description, set colors, and define shortcuts. If you already scored interviews of the project and then modify the category settings, you will be asked to map old categories to new ones in order to preserve existing assignments.
  8. What is the difference between the Default Detail Categories window under Preferences and the EditModify Detail Categories dialog?
    The Default Detail Categories settings determine which settings will be used when creating new projects whereas changes in the Modify Detail Categories dialog will affect your current project and its assignable categories. If you would like to use your current detail categories as default, you can tick the offered check box at the bottom of the dialog.
  9. How can I view my results?
    Your scoring will automatically be tallied into a table on your project’s tab. You only need to click on the name of your project in the structure tree to open it.
  10. What kind of outputs are Detail sequence and Detail pattern?
    Detail sequence lists all detail categories in their assigned order for each interview. Detail pattern lists all detail category combination of two or three categories and their number of occurrences for each interview. Both analyses might be useful for questions addressing category switching within the interview.
  11. How can I export my results?
    There is an Export to Spreadsheet button on your results page that will generate an ODS spreadsheet. You can also use FileExport ToSpreadsheet (only Results) for the same output.
  12. I exported my results to an ODS spreadsheet but it won't open in MS Excel. What can I do?
    This can happen due to compatibility problems between the ODS format and MS Excel. Newer versions of MS Excel should be able to open ODF documents (possibly after confirming to trust the content of the workbook). Otherwise, you can download Libre Office or Open Office for free or copy your result table with CTRL+C (or CMD+C under Mac OS X). As a free Open Source tool, we are favoring the Open Document standard over proprietary formats.
  13. How can I print my scored interviews?
    Via FileExport To you can export your project to HTML, which can be displayed by any modern Web Browser. They also allow you to print it from there. Beware that the printed version is much simpler than the displayed one.
  14. I am getting the error message: “The produced file could not be validated and might be corrupted”. Why does this happen?
    Whenever you save your project, the file is read-in again and compared with your open project. In the rare case that there are differences detected, it will show this message. This may happen because the saving process has failed (e.g. when removing your memory stick too early) and you should try to save it again at another place.