Blog articles

The worth of an anonymous survey

Posted on 10/8/2014 by Elizabeth in category: survey software articles
Sometimes, survey respondents decline to participate in an survey because of the fear that they will be identified and their responses can be traced back to them. For many survey respondents, few things matter more than their anonymity.

This concern occurs when customers are providing feedback on products purchased or services received, but it is especially the case in the workplace setting, where employees are fearful that their responses on a survey might place their jobs in jeopardy at worst, and be reprimanded at least. In both of these cases and others, an anonymous survey tool designed with online survey software helps calm these worries and fears.

An anonymous survey can lend itself to honest and insightful feedback that a survey respondent might not feel comfortable with divulging if their responses are tied to him. It is especially helpful if the online survey asks specific and pointed questions or open-ended questions that enable respondents to expound on their responses in greater detail.

When creating an online survey with survey software and deciding between attributed (identified) vs. anonymity, balance your targeted audience needs and privacy with the importance of the data and feedback you are collecting.

If you do decide that an anonymous survey is the right choice for your particular survey needs, then make it crystal clear to each respondents that their name and email address (or any other identifying information) will be kept completely confidential and will not be recorded or saved.

Each time you decide to create and deploy an online survey, you must make a decision on the anonymity of the responses prior to launching your survey tool. There are several points to consider when making this decision:

How much candor do you desire from the respondents? In most cases, respondents are less inclined to hold back their true feelings and opinions when they know they cannot be identified. An anonymous survey offers benefits in this regard.

How critical are the response rates? If respondents believe they can be identified, there's more of a likelihood that they will forego providing their feedback. In some cases, a respondent will abandon the survey before completion if the questions become too uncomfortable.

Is there a need to follow up on responses? If there is any chance that there will be a need for clarification or in-depth examination of a specific issue or response, an anonymous survey may prevent from doing so. An attributed survey can allow an organization to send out a follow-up survey to clarify issues not addressed in the initial survey, but was brought forth in the survey responses.

While each of these points play an important factor in deciding whether to employ an anonymous survey or not, it is important to know that with the right advanced survey software, you can create a survey that is both anonymous, yet can be personal for each respondent, in the event that follow-up is desired. Either way, creating an anonymous surveys stands to not only boost response rates, but improve the accuracy and honesty of feedback received.
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