Faster data downloads and analysis with our new Stata command

We’re excited to announce our new Stata command that allows you to download form data and media files faster than ever before and at any time without needing to use the server console or our desktop application, SurveyCTO Desktop. Combined with SurveyCTO’s ability to automatically generate .do files that import, merge, and label your data, this Stata resource offers a great tool to automate the monitoring and analysis processes of your data collection projects.

This resource is significantly based on the work of a pre-existing resource created by Christopher Boyer, a doctoral candidate at Harvard School of Public Health and former Technical Team Lead at Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA). Both resources achieve the same aims, but the SurveyCTO version has been tailored for more general use. 

Install the command

What can this command do?

Let’s assume that you have a large dataset with several media files to download. While downloading data via SurveyCTO Desktop is easy, the process can be time-consuming for very large datasets. For more efficiency in these cases, we usually recommend using our REST API (you can sign up for a free account to view this page). However, using the API requires the correct code to retrieve the data and more advanced knowledge to convert the JSON-formatted data into CSV or DTA formats so that it’s ready for analysis. Moreover, each media file requires a different API request, which can also be time-consuming.

By running our sctoapi command, you’ll be able to more quickly do the following:

  • Fetch data from one or more forms submitted after a specific date in WIDE format. This includes encrypted forms.
  • Save data in a specified folder in JSON and CSV formats, as well as have the option to save directly in the Stata format.
  • Download media files and save them in a subfolder named ‘media’.

You can also combine this Stata command with other steps and resources to rename and relocate media files, as well as generate and save Stata datasets that are formatted and labeled. Explore our support article for step-by-step guidance on how to get the most out of this command, including instructions for modifying the SurveyCTO .do file template to download data via the API and import and work with that data. If you aren’t a current SurveyCTO user, sign up for a free 15-day trial to explore all that SurveyCTO can do.

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Where can I find this command?

The sctoapi command is included in the scto Stata package, which includes other Stata commands to analyze sensor data and rename collected media files. All information and codes are available on our GitHub page. And you can refer to the support article for instructions on how to install the package and use this command.

We hope that you find this command useful! Please share your experience in our user forum and with the Stata community.