The Importance of Anonymous Surveys

If you’ve created a survey before, you are sure to have clear goals in mind so that you can measure the success of your project. You’ve made sure that your survey is engaging, open-ended, and seeks the answers you are looking for from your participants. After creating your survey, you’re usually faced with important decisions such as: where you should post the survey, how long the survey should be available to the public, and marketing methods for the survey. 

A new decision survey makers are contemplating is the anonymous survey. Anonymous surveys allow participants to provide feedback without providing contact information. In this article, we look at why more survey makers are leaning towards anonymous surveys.

Pros and Cons of Anonymous Surveys

Often survey participants are hesitant when leaving honest feedback for fear there could be repercussions to them in some way. This is also true for both customers and employees when giving feedback on services received or on the workplace. In these conditions, anonymous surveys should be presented as an option. Frank and truthful feedback is an important way to gauge survey participant’s views on certain matters. This honest feedback can enable you to plan ways of improving your business/program based on the information provided. 

With anonymous surveys, survey participants are free to provide answers without fear of reprisal or embarrassment. Anonymous surveys shine in areas where you are seeking answers on deeply personal topics as it allows participants to respond more openly. 

Lastly, anonymous surveys provide identity protection. Many surveys are left incomplete when they ask participants for personal information such as names, email addresses, and phone numbers. Participants fear that their personal information may be sold to marketing companies or left vulnerable in a cyber attack.

A con of receiving anonymous feedback is the inability to resolve serious issues that are provided. This prevents you from being able to reach out to the particular respondent and have a one on one. However, this information is still viable as you can adapt to the situation and layout precautionary measures so that the issue does not happen again.

Another downside of anonymous surveys is you may not get an honest answer. If participants don’t have an overall negative view of the company, they may leave information that doesn’t correlate to the nature of the survey. Because of the anonymity, you’ll be unable to reach out and clarify what certain responses mean.

Lastly, anonymous surveys are used to build up trust. It is always important not to breach the anonymity of surveys or the trust will shatter and take longer to rebuild.

SMS surveys often provide great vehicles for anonymity. Our product encrypts survey respondent data so their personal information is protected. co:census was voted the #1 ethical data solution in North America in 2021. Read more here. 

Research on Anonymous surveys

In an article published in the US Library of Medicine, researchers studied the impact that anonymous surveys had on survey participant’s responses. They realized that greater privacy does not necessarily result in higher disclosure rates of sensitive information than lesser privacy.

However, it is clear to note that during their study they provided incentives for each participant. Those with higher privacy received higher incentives($20) to fill out their forms while those with less privacy received lower incentives($10). Each survey had a certain degree of privacy that could have resulted in them disclosing their honest answers.

If the researchers had not provided incentive and provided a control group that had no privacy (as in a non-confidential survey), it is possible that the results would differ. They noted that “the disclosure of sensitive or stigmatizing information under differing privacy conditions may have less to do with promoting or impeding participants’ “honesty” or “accuracy” than with selectively recruiting or attracting subpopulations that are higher or lower in such experiences.”  

How co:census can help

We collaborate with users to create engaging SMS surveys on real issues in some of the most distressed communities in America. Our goal is always centered on co-creation and collaboration to produce outcomes for these communities and our users. 

Our surveys allow users to reach out to residents who lack trust in their communities and fear the repercussions of speaking out. This not only fosters honest and open engagement, but creates an environment of inclusion for both the community, individuals, and organizations who use our product. 

Our key difference is support you, as a leader, along with your team in designing surveys to reduce bias. Our key features also include encryption of PIIA to protect your constituents, Auth integrations to protect your teams data, and features like sentiments analysis to help you analyze public feedback faster. Want to learn more about co:census?

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