Summary of survey software: Bascula 4


Vendor: Statistics Netherlands.
U.S. Vendor: Westat, Inc.
Authors: Robert Gottgens, Lon Hofman, Han Holsgens, Jelke Bethlehem, Nico Nieuwenbroek and Ger Slootbeek.

Types of designs that can be accommodated.

The following designs can be accomodated for variance estimation.

Types of estimands and statistical analyses that can be accomodated.

Bascula computes adjustment weights using auxiliary variables. It incorporates various weighting techniques. If only categorical auxiliary variables are used, the simplest technique is complete poststratification. For incomplete poststratification, Bascula offers a choice between linear weighting (based on the general regression estimator) and multiplicative weighting (based on iterative proportional fitting). Linear weighting can also be applied if one or more of the auxiliary variables is a quantitative variable.

The program can calculate estimates of population totals, means, and ratios.

Restrictions on number of variables or observations.

In a weighting session at most seven categorical auxiliary variables can be used simultaneously. However, the number of quantitative auxiliary variables is not restricted. The present algorithm does not allow multiplicative weighting to be applied if at least one of the auxiliary variables in the weighting model is a quantitative variable. In principle the number of observations is without limitation.

Primary methods used for variance estimation.

Bascula uses Balanced Repeated Replication (BRR) and Taylor series methods for variance estimation.

General description of the "feel" of the software.

The software is a standalone Windows program, but it can communicate with the Blaise system also developed at Statistics Netherlands. The data may be in ASCII format or in Blaise format.

Bascula is menu-driven. The order of the menus and of the options within each menu more or less reflects the order in which the various tasks must be carried out.

Platforms on which the software can be run.

The program runs under Windows, and is distributed as a compiled program for Windows 95 or higher.

Pricing and terms.

Bascula is licensed as part of the Blaise system, so it must be kept in mind that the following illustrative prices are essentially Blaise prices and reflect the typical use of this system by large survey groups with many intensive users (interviewers). The price for an annual license is 2000 Dutch guilders per copy, with quantity discounts. The Bascula reference manual includes an introduction to the theory of adjustment weighting, usage instructions, and weighting examples.

In the United States, the base Blaise system costs $2100 for the first developer (no charge for other users, e.g. interviewers and data entry staff) and other modules (including Bascula, which does not require the base system) cost $1200 for the first developer. (Note: prices subject to change, please check with vendor.)

Contact information.

For sales/distribution (world): A. Vogelesang,
telephone 0031-70-3374999
Statistics Netherlands, Statistical Informatics Department
P.O. Box 4000, 2270 JM Voorburg, The Netherlands.

For sales/distribution (U.S.A.): Mark Pierzchala, Manager, Blaise Services
telephone (301)315-5959
Westat, Inc.
1650 Research Blvd, Rockville, MD 20850
Web site:

For methodology issues: N.J. Nieuwenbroek,
telephone 0031-45-5706992
Statistics Netherlands, Department of Statistical Methods
P.O. Box 4481, 6401 CZ Heerlen, The Netherlands.

Web: for more on Bascula:
Web: for information on Blaise:
Web: Information on Blaise and Bascula from Westat:

Additional information.

Variance estimation methods have been added and extended in recent releases, augmenting the original version which was designed only for tabulation and weighting without variance estimation.

Bascula is part of the Blaise project. Blaise is an integrated system for survey processing, focusing on data entry/editing, (telephone) interviewing, electronic data capture, management of surveys, manipulation of data and metadata. The system uses a powerful structured language for describing complex, large, questionnaires. A tabulation utility is part of the system. Links to statistical packages like SPSS and SAS are available. Links to other systems can easily be created.

Return to main page for survey software