Lighthouse Studio Help

Getting Started with Interviewing

Welcome to Lighthouse Studio!


Lighthouse Studio is a platform for writing questionnaires and conducting survey research studies over the Internet or via devices not connected to the Internet (CAPI-based interviewing). You can press F1 at most any dialog/screen to receive help about the options within that dialog. We suggest you start by viewing Getting Started with Lighthouse Studio: A 45-Minute Hands-On Tour.


Lighthouse Studio is made up of various components that you can license from Sawtooth Software:


A general-purpose survey research tool suited for a variety of simple to complex surveys.

CBC for Choice-Based Conjoint analysis, currently the most popular trade-off method.

ACBC for Adaptive Choice-Based Conjoint, a trade-off method that is particularly well suited for problems involving five or more attributes.

MaxDiff for Maximum Difference (Best/Worst) scaling, excellent for measuring the importance or preference of a list of items.  Sharing much in common with conjoint analysis, it is applicable to a wider variety of situations and is easier than conjoint analysis.

CVA for traditional, full-profile conjoint analysis.  Not very often used today, this is the original conjoint method and it is particularly useful for small sample sizes and problems with few attributes.

ACA for Adaptive Conjoint Analysis, an older adaptive trade-off technique for product design and segmentation studies involving many attributes.


Sample general survey, ACBC, CBC, MaxDiff, CVA, and ACA studies and supporting files are included with your installation in the Samples directory. You can easily access these example studies by clicking Help | Sample Studies.  


If you know a little HTML (which is not necessary to use this software), you can employ some "tricks" that can help you customize the look of your survey beyond the standard options. This is especially the case if using the "Free Format" question type. By opening the sample studies and looking at the settings and text we've used, you can become familiar with some of the possibilities. There is also a brief section available in the online help regarding HTML elements.


Using this web-based survey tool requires the following skills and knowledge base:


1.The analyst managing the survey should know the basics of survey writing. If using conjoint analysis, the analyst should understand how to define attributes and levels properly, correctly phrase the questionnaire text, interpret the conjoint utilities, and run simulations. It is not necessary to be a statistician to use our software effectively, but knowledge of basic statistics for market research is highly recommended.


2.The questionnaire is first composed locally on a PC running under Windows, using your web browser to preview/test the survey. The individual inputting/formatting the survey should have a working knowledge of standard Windows applications such as word processing and web browsers. Though it is not necessary, some knowledge of HTML is valuable.  
3.To upload the survey to the Web you can use the Sawtooth Software Hosting Service or host on your own.


Creating a Sawtooth Software Account


If you aren't already registered to use Lighthouse Studio with a Sawtooth Software Account, the first time you launch the software (Start | Programs | Sawtooth Software | Lighthouse Studio) you are shown a dialog wherein you specify your Email and a Password and click Create New AccountAfter creating the account you will receive an email asking you to confirm account creation by following the link in the email. Once your account is confirmed, return to the software to Sign in.


When signed in to your Sawtooth Software Account you will see your account email address at the upper-right hand side of the application. You can click on that link to view your license information, go to your account online, or sign out.  


Steps to Creating a Web Survey


1.  It is likely that you will first compose the script to your questionnaire using a word processing package. This is fine as a starting point, as you can cut-and-paste text from your word processing package into the questions you develop within the survey building interface.


2.  Create a new study in Lighthouse Studio.


3.  Next, write your questionnaire, adding questions one-by-one within the Write Questionnaire window. You can preview these questions using the Preview function, that shows how your Internet browser presents your questions.


4.  Optionally, create respondent identifiers, to provide a way to let qualified respondents in and keep unqualified people out of the survey.


5. Preview the questions, questionnaire pages, or the entire questionnaire on your PC and smaller-screen devices during questionnaire development. You can also test or run your questionnaire locally on your PC using the Local Test Server installed with Lighthouse Studio.


6.  When you are satisfied with your questionnaire, upload your project to the web server (or use our hosting services). You then test your survey on the web server, to make sure it functions properly and saves the data correctly.


7.  When you are satisfied that your survey looks and functions properly, invite respondents to take the survey. The data are automatically stored on the server. You can view or perform tabulations of the data in real time at any point during data collection using the Admin Module.


8. Download the data to your PC and use the data export capabilities to convert the survey data to a generic text-only format, .csv format, Excel format, or SPSS format.


Technical Support


Your license entitles you to free technical support via phone or email. We encourage you to contact us at or visit for our regional phone numbers and business hours. Outside of business hours, you might try posting a question to our Online Forum at our website,


We provide full technical support for composing and testing your Internet survey on your local PC and provide instructions on how to upload your project to your server. We cannot take responsibility for or be expected to provide technical support to debug any customized HTML, CSS, Perl, or JavaScript you may add to your survey. If you are self-hosting, you are also responsible to make sure that Perl is running, a database is available, and that you can run Perl (CGI) scripts on your web server. We can provide some assistance related to Lighthouse Studio's use with your server once the fundamental Perl functionality and a database is in place.


Privacy and Research


There is a great deal of concern regarding privacy rights and the Internet. Researchers must be respectful of respondents and the valuable information they provide. One should never use information collected during the course of research for purposes other than research. We suggest providing a privacy policy near the front of your survey, to let respondents know how the data they provide will or won't be used.


We condemn direct marketing, selling, list building, or PR campaigns that masquerade as research.

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