What to share when submitting a support request

If you need assistance with anything SurveyCTO-related, help is at hand! As a trial or paid subscriber, you can submit a support request at any time from the Support Center, which an experienced researcher on our support team will respond to promptly. To ensure the fastest resolution, we’ve provided guidance on what to include in your request.

1. Scope of support

We understand the difficulties and challenges of field research and can advise on a variety of issues related to data collection. When submitting your request, refer to the following list for what evidence to provide (depending on what relates to your case). We’ve also provided more information further below.

If you have questions that might go beyond the scope of our support services, just ask them! We’ll make sure to help as best we can.

2. Confidential or personally identifying evidence

The evidence that you might submit, notably exported data, or CSV file attachments for pre-loading, may contain confidential or personally identifying information (PII). You can trust that our support team will treat everything you share as sensitive and confidential, and never save copies or forward what you share to a third party. However, you should consider replacing the content of columns containing PII with arbitrary data, if it won’t affect our ability to troubleshoot.

If urgency or the nature of the problem makes it challenging to hide sensitive data, you may still decide to submit it. We advise that you do so via a file-sharing service like Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive, so that at the end of a support exchange, you can suspend sharing via the provided link.

Please feel free to discuss any confidentiality concerns you have with the support team before sharing files.

3. Error messages

Error messages can appear in different parts of the SurveyCTO platform. Whenever you see one, we’ll be able to best help you solve it if you share the exact message. Take a screenshot on your computer or mobile device, or copy and paste the message.

Beyond the error message, it is extremely useful to understand its context:

  • What did you do just before the error message appeared?
  • Does the error message come up every time you perform this action?

Providing this information can help narrow things down for a speedy resolution.

4. Form design and support files

The form design is a useful piece of evidence in most support queries, so please share it. Aside from being a set of instructions on how your form works, the form design is the basis of many things in SurveyCTO, including the shape of your exported data, what data will appear in exports and our Stata .do file template. In SurveyCTO, your forms can be designed in the online form designer or directly in a portable, offline spreadsheet form design template.

If you are working in the online form designer, click on the Export button in the top right to generate the Excel form definition. Otherwise, from the Design tab, click on Download under the form's title, then Form files. Under Deployed form version, click on the .xlsx file link to download the latest deployed version of your form in Excel format.

In addition to the form design in Excel format, it might be helpful to share any supporting files useful for testing your form design, like CSV files for pre-loading.

5. Exported data

For some support requests, you might need to submit your actual data or a representative sample. Read the following guidance on how to export and share your data.

6. SurveyCTO Collect problems

While SurveyCTO Collect for Android is generally a reliable application, it might not work as intended in certain exceptional circumstances. When this happens, the crash report for SurveyCTO Collect can be an invaluable source of evidence on the problem. Some form design errors might cause problems for SurveyCTO Collect and in some cases, a form design might be too demanding for an Android device with too little memory, which the crash report can confirm.

To submit a crash report, do the following:

  1. Tap on the three-dot icon in the top right from the main menu of SurveyCTO Collect.
  2. Open Admin Settings.
  3. In Admin Settings, tap on the three-dot icon and tap on Submit Crash Report.

For the best experience, we recommend using the latest available version of SurveyCTO Collect, which is easily installable from the Play Store. Android devices running versions of Android older than 4.3 must use our legacy support release from 2.41.

Please get in touch with the support team for any problems with SurveyCTO Collect for iOS.

7. SurveyCTO Desktop

SurveyCTO Desktop is SurveyCTO's desktop application for exporting and processing data. The first thing to do when experiencing problems with SurveyCTO Desktop is to make sure you're using the latest version of SurveyCTO Desktop (installable from here).

Be sure to report the version number of SurveyCTO Desktop you're using in a support request. Click on About SurveyCTO Desktop to locate the "Rev" and "Date" numbers, as well as the overall version number. A screenshot would be fine.

Otherwise, if you run into trouble with it, there are two types of log file that are useful to share during a support exchange.

7.1 Sync logs

If upon running SurveyCTO Desktop to export data and it finishes with a result other than COMPLETED, the first thing to do is try to run SurveyCTO Desktop again. Most errors are Internet connectivity-related and will pass when running again (especially if you do so using a better Internet connection).

Every action in a data sync operation is logged when you run SurveyCTO Desktop, which is very useful for troubleshooting during a support exchange.

To share a SurveyCTO Desktop sync log, do the following:

  1. Start SurveyCTO Desktop exporting data and wait for it to finish running.
  2. Click on the VIEW DETAILS button.
  3. Click on the SAVE TO DISK button to save a txt file locally.
  4. Share the txt file.

7.2 Sync developer logs

In some instances it will be useful for our product development team to see the developer logs for the SurveyCTO Desktop application. Where these logs appear will differ depending on your computer's operating system. If SurveyCTO Desktop can be started, click on the SurveyCTO Desktop option menu and click on Show log files. You'll want to share the txt files you find in the revealed folder location.

8. Stata .do file template

If you’re having issues with your Stata .do file template, refer to this guidance on how to generate Stata .do files in SurveyCTO and this guidance to troubleshooting common problems. Definitely share the Stata .do file template from SurveyCTO in a support exchange if you need help with it as well.

9. Server dataset definition

Server datasets on your server are exportable as a portable XML definition. Follow these steps to download a dataset definition:

  1. Navigate to the Design tab of your server console.
  2. Look at the controls under the server dataset's title on the right.
  3. Click on Download. 
  4. Click on Dataset definition.

This definition is useful for redeploying server dataset publishing systems in future on any server but are also useful for sharing over a support ticket, if you're having trouble configuring server datasets correctly. It would help also, to share form designs (as above) for any forms that are connected to your server dataset.

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