Now that you’ve taken the time to make your survey perfect and interesting, it’s time to send it out. Have your distribution methods ready, and make sure your team is ready to collect the answers and look at them. But all of a sudden, you have no idea what to do. Should you ask people for their names or leave them nameless and anonymous? A new option that survey makers are thinking about is the anonymous survey. People can fill out surveys without giving their names or other personal information. In this blog post, we talk about why you might sometimes want to make your survey anonymous.
Why Should Your Survey Be Anonymous?
Before talking about what an anonymous survey can do for you, it’s helpful to talk about what it is. A survey is anonymous if it doesn’t ask for personally identifiable information (PII), such as the respondent’s name, email address, social security number, and street address. This makes it impossible to find values in the answers that could be linked to a specific participant.
Most of the time, the survey only asks questions about the topic. People don’t have many if any, simple questions. And if they have to be used, demographic information is used as a whole and not tied to you. When you do your survey these ways, you get some important benefits:
1. Recipients Are More at Ease while Replying
If they don’t have to give PII, most people will be happier to fill out surveys. They don’t worry about getting in trouble or feeling bad about themselves. When people answer anonymously, they don’t have to worry about getting in trouble or being embarrassed. When you want people to answer honestly to very personal questions, anonymous surveys are a great way to do it.
2. Your Response Rate Increases
Some people may have skipped your survey in the past because they had to give personal information along with their answers. But since people can now choose to stay anonymous, you should get more responses.
3. You Get More Honest Comments
When people fill out a survey anonymously, they are more likely to talk about sensitive topics and give more detailed, honest feedback. This is why there are usually more anonymous staff surveys than ones that ask staff to give information that can be used to find them.
4. Keep Your Identity Hidden
Last, anonymous surveys keep people’s identities safe. People don’t finish many surveys that ask for personal information like their names, email addresses, and phone numbers. People worry that their personal information could be sold to marketing companies or used in a cyber-attack.
5. Assists You in Avoiding the Social Desirability Bias
If you ask people to leave information that can be used to find them, it can cause your results to be affected by social desirability bias. People answer questions based on how they think other people will see them instead of how they feel. This is called “social desirability bias.” If a lot of people answer this way, the results could change. But people cannot lie if they can fill out a survey without giving away their IP address. In general, this makes your survey results more reliable.