Security, privacy and confidentiality are important considerations for both survey administrators and respondents alike, but are sometimes poorly understood and often confused with anonymity.
Respondent anonymity does not have to mean an absence of information, but rather information which is carefully structured to enable tracking whilst providing respondent protection. For both online and traditional surveys it is important that users understand the way response data is handled and how personal or demographic information may be linked.
Response data in E-valuate-IT is treated according to the level of anonymity, which is transparent to respondents. Survey anonymity status is automatically displayed on the survey cover page along with a note describing how respondent information will be handled.
There are several levels of anonymity available to survey administrators to manage:
Anonymity necessary - all respondents remain anonymous and individuals cannot be directly linked with their survey responses. Respondent identifiers are not displayed when open-ended answers are coded nor displayed in summary reports. When response data is exported to MS Excel, only attributes from drop down select lists appear.
No anonymity - respondents are not anonymous, and identifiers are displayed when open-ended answers are coded. Identifiers are not shown in summary reports. However, identifiers and both input and select attributes are included with the export of survey response data.
Anonymity optional - respondents may choose to be anonymous or not anonymous and are treated accordingly as above.
The link between respondent identity and individual survey responses is always dependent on the level of anonymity. Even if your survey is to be anonymous, consider creating a respondent identity to take advantage of the advanced tracking and reporting features of E-valuate-IT.