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As SurveyCTO has grown, so has the range of projects for which the platform is being used to collect high-quality data, evaluate programs, and conduct research. Who is using SurveyCTO? And how have they leveraged the platform to get more accurate, real-time data?

Below are a few case study excerpts from our users, organized by area of research. Do you have examples of your own? Please let us know by commenting below! We’re always eager to learn about how our users have made SurveyCTO work for them.

Election Polling

National Exit Polling in Mexico

On June 7, 2015, Mexico held elections for their national Congress, and SIMO Consulting was contracted to perform exit polling throughout the country. This meant performing exit polls in urban and rural areas, in some high-risk communities, and in areas without reliable mobile Internet capability – plus reporting partial results throughout the day and final results immediately after polling stations closed. This presented a massive technical and logistical challenge for the SIMO team.

SIMO Consulting, armed with SurveyCTO as their chosen technology for data collection, was up to the challenge. They devised a plan to deploy enumerators to 480 different locations across Mexico’s 31 states, plus another 80 locations within Mexico City. Most enumerators would collect data electronically, using tablets and the SurveyCTO Collect app to fill out forms and, periodically, upload data to SIMO’s SurveyCTO server. Those in high-risk or low-connectivity rural areas would fill out paper forms and periodically phone data into a SIMO data center, where telephone operators would enter that data into SurveyCTO and upload it to the server.

Read more about how SIMO Consulting conducted and analyzed a national poll in one day…

Maternal and Child Health

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies: A health impact evaluation in Ghana

Every person deserves a healthy life. That’s the guiding principle for JSI Research & Training Institute Inc. (JSI), a public health consulting organization. To that end, JSI partnered with Innovations for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (MNCH), an initiative of Concern Worldwide. In an effort to improve maternal and child health, Innovations is introducing a non-financial incentive program in several community-based health planning and services zones in rural Ghana. The program is designed to improve antenatal care, postpartum care, and breastfeeding behavior. But prior to launch by ProNet North, Innovations’ in-country implementing partner, JSI was brought in to execute a critical first step on the way to a rigorous impact evaluation: a baseline assessment of 2,700 households and the men and women who live in them.

To execute the baseline, JSI’s Center for Health Information, Monitoring and Evaluation (CHIME), needed a mobile platform that would work in offline settings, was extremely secure and reliable, powerful enough to handle the most complex surveys, and provided real-time access to high quality data. They chose SurveyCTO.

Read more about why JSI chose SurveyCTO and how it benefited the project…

Limited Network? No problem! Using cell phones to collect data in resource constrained settings

In October 2013, the JSI team implemented a baseline assessment using the SurveyCTO mobile data collection suite in Bo District, Sierra Leone for the Essential Newborn Care Corps pilot, again in partnership with the Innovations for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) initiative led by Concern Worldwide. The pilot explores the potential to provide standardized training to traditional birth attendants as MNCH health promoters to ensure quality care for pregnant women and newborns in order to improve health outcomes.

Selecting the right mobile platform was a key to the success of the baseline data collection in Bo District. In Bo, access to Internet is limited; however, SurveyCTO proved to be a fast, simple solution to collecting real-time, high-quality data with minimal reliance on Internet availability.

Read more about how JSI used SurveyCTO to assess the Essential Newborn Care Corps pilot…


Electronic Tablets Revolutionize HIV Research in Rwanda

In October 2014, data gathering and analysis became faster and more efficient in Rwanda when research nurses studying mother-to-child transmission of HIV for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) began collecting real-time data on Android tablets. Previously, nurses working on the Kabeho Study (Kigali Antiretroviral and Breastfeeding Assessment for the Elimination of HIV) had been using paper forms to track a cohort of participants in Rwanda’s national prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) program.

Read more here about how using tablet-based data collection benefited the Kabeho study, and why EGPAF chose SurveyCTO as the platform to deploy on those tablets…


Seeds of Change: Impact evaluation in rural Kenya

Can farmers in Kenya increase their family income by switching to hybrid maize seeds? And are there financial and soil quality constraints that prevent them from doing so? These are the questions Emilia Tjernstrom and her team from the BASIS AMA Innovation Lab (hosted at the University of California Davis) set out to answer. To answer these questions, the team needed to conduct a sophisticated, multi-year agricultural study.

They used SurveyCTO as it was the only data collection software that was up to the task and because, in Emilia’s words, “It was clear that the SurveyCTO team had thought carefully about the practical realities of field surveys and what is actually needed on the ground.”

Read more about how the BASIS AMA team used SurveyCTO to conduct a longitudinal survey and manage panel data…

CASCADE in Central America: Complex environment, quality data

The CASCADE project aims to help smallholder farmers adapt to climate change by evaluating adaptation strategies, including ecosystem-based adaptations, and by supporting the adoption of successful strategies. The project focuses on coffee and subsistence (maize and bean) farmers in three Central American countries: Costa Rica, Honduras, and Guatemala.

Its ultimate goal is to disseminate information about farmers and their performance, and to provide training-for-trainers to support the implementation of best practices for a given context. Therefore, reliable data is a prerequisite for any aspect of the project to succeed. It was thus very important to collect high-quality data from the beginning.

To meet this challenge – all while conducting an incredibly complex survey (1,500+ questions) across three countries and two different kinds of landscape (coffee vs. grains) – the CASCADE team used SurveyCTO.

Why? Read more here…

Know of other good examples? Let us know in a comment below!

Chris Robert


Chris is the founder of SurveyCTO. He now serves as Director and Founder Emeritus, supporting Dobility in a variety of part-time capacities. Over the course of Dobility’s first 10 years, he held several positions, including CEO, CTO, and Head of Product.

Before founding Dobility, he was involved in a long-term project to evaluate the impacts of microfinance in South India; developed online curriculum for a program to promote the use of evidence in policy-making in Pakistan and India; and taught statistics and policy analysis at the Harvard Kennedy School. Before that, he co-founded and helped grow an internet technology consultancy and led technology efforts for the top provider of software and hardware for multi-user bulletin board systems (the online systems most prominent before the Internet).