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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

SurveyCTO Sync log

SurveyCTO Sync logs every action, as well as errors, when you run it to export data. If SurveyCTO Sync seems to be having a problem, it can be invaluable for you to share the full log.

To share a SurveyCTO Sync log, do the following:

  1. Start SurveyCTO Sync exporting data and wait for it to finish running.
  2. Click on the Details… button.
  3. Copy and share the full log with SurveyCTO Sync.

We recommend using the latest available version of SurveyCTO Sync. If you aren’t, share the version number of SurveyCTO Sync that you’re using.

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.

Server dataset definition

Server datasets on your server are exportable as a portable XML definition. To export, on the Design tab of your server console, under a server dataset's title, click on Download, then 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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