Ask Node

When the engine arrives at an [ask] node, it presents a question to the user. Ask nodes define a set of possible answers. Each possible answer has its own decision sub-graph, executed by the engine when that answer is selected. When the engine completes the execution of the selected sub-graph, it moved on to the node that’s syntactically after the [ask] node.

As legal and technological questions can be daunting, it is possible to clarify terms that appear in the question. This is done by using the optional {terms: ...} node.

  {text: Do the data concern living persons?}
    {yes: [set: livingPersons=yes][call: privacySection ] }
    {no: [call: nonHuman] }}]
  {text: Do the data contain personally identifying information, as defined under HIPAA?}
    {Personally identifying information: This means the name, address, fingerprints...}
    {HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act}}]

In the above example, the user will be asked the first question. If she chooese yes, the livingPersons slot will contain the value yes, and the interview will proceed to a node with ID privacySection. If she chooses no, the interview will proceed to the node with id nonHuman. In both cases, after the return from the [call] node, the user will be asked the second question.

Special Case: Yes/No Questions

A common pattern in questionnaires is to have a yes/no question, where one answer leads to a series of questions before continuing, and the opposite just moves to the next question. For example, the questionnaire may ask the user whether a dataset contains health data before calling the health data section. In effect, this translates to an [ask] node that has a sub-graph for one answer only.

In order to support this, if a node contains only a single “yes” or “no” answer, the other answer is assumed to be implicit - it is added automatically, and points to the node after said [ask] node.:

[>q1< ask:
  {text: Do the data contain health information?}
    {yes: [call: healthSection]}}]
[>q2< ask:
  {text: Do the data contain criminal records?}

When the engine arrives at node q1, the user will have a choice of both yes and no, even though only yes is specified. When choosing no, the user will be transferred to q2.