Digital data collection for rigorous, randomised research


Workshop session 1: Wednesday, 11:00-12:30

Workshop category: 

  • Quality improvement methods and performance measures


Date and Location


Wednesday 13 September 2017 - 11:00 to 12:30


Contact persons and facilitators

Contact person:


Nilmini Herath
Target audience

Target audience: 

Researchers undertaking primary data collection with human subjects

Level of difficulty: 

Type of workshop

Type of workshop : 



Objectives: Participants will be exposed to the advantages of using digital data collection to design and implement randomised evaluations. Participants will be introduced to SurveyCTO, a platform which allows advanced survey features to be programmed on mobile devices and collect high-quality data. Participants will be exposed to innovative research design like randomised research protocols and questionnaire elements, built into digital forms.

Description: SurveyCTO is a flexible and secure digital data collection platform, widely used for running surveys in 130 countries, including by the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). Digital data collection systems are increasingly used to implement randomised-controlled trials (RCTs), improve data quality and enforce research protocols. After some exposure to general principles of digital data collection, participants can expect to see how randomised research protocols can be built into digital forms in practice. Theory will be illustrated through two practical examples designed by J-PAL in South Africa, including a voter turnout experiment with randomised treatments and the execution of a popular neuropsychological test, the Stroop test using SurveyCTO.

Those who bring laptops with them can get some practical exposure to digital form design using SurveyCTO but it is not required.