ODK common errors and solutions

Only questions are allowed in ‘field-list. Bad node is: /form_id/group_2/group_1’

Have you received this error while using ODK? SurveyCTO is here to help!

What does this error mean?

You have questions enclosed inside a group (that is, between “begin group” and “end group” rows) and are using the field-list appearance on the group, so that all questions inside display on the same screen. However, inside this group, you have put another group. The problem is that a group that has a “field-list” appearance can’t have any other group inside it at all. That group would not serve any purpose, as all fields inside the parent group are, by definition, supposed to display on the same screen at the same time already, due to the field-list appearance.

How do I fix this error?

Delete all “begin group” and “end group” rows that are inside the parent group that uses the field-list appearance.

We hope you found this helpful. Feel free to browse through our other ODK error guides. To try SurveyCTO for yourself, and see all the improvements we made to ODK, you can sign up for a free 15-day trial. We offer 24×7 support from research experts, customizable form designs, smart data quality controls, and best-in-class data security.

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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).