How Anonymity Can Get Honest Response?

Blocksurvey blog author
Jan 18, 2024 · 4 mins read

When conducting surveys or gathering feedback, the protection of respondents' data becomes a essential concern. This is because the respondents want their data to be safe for providing honest responses. They don’t want their data to be misused. Respondents are more likely to provide honest answers and complete their surveys if they believe their information is handled with care and safety.

In the kingdom of trust, anonymity is protector of voices.

Ensuring anonymity not only boosts the integrity of the collected data but also creates trust between the survey administrator and the respondent.

How do you gain the trust of the respondent by assuring your survey is anonymous? Learn more about BlockSurvey’s anonymous feature in the following section.

1. BlockSurvey’s Anonymous Feature

BlockSurvey provides a very handy Anonymous Feature. The respondent need not manually check for personally identifying question types. BlockSurvey does it for you.

The anonymous feature informs the respondents about the survey’s anonymity with an anonymous seal even before taking the survey. You can find the settings screen in screenshot below.

The survey’s anonymity is informed with an anonymous seal. You can display the anonymous seal on your survey by switching on the anonymous feature. This means the usage of the following question types is not allowed.

  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Website
  • Country
  • Contact Form
  • Payment
  • Signature
  • Stacks Network
  • Solana Network
  • Ethereum Network

If any modification includes above question types in the survey, then the Anonymous Seal will be turned off. To display anonymous seal again, you should once again avoid the use of above question types. One more consideration for anonymity seal is user should not be signed in.

k-anonymity is a popular approach for data anonymization. With k-anonymity an original data set containing personally identifiable information can be transformed so that it is difficult for an intruder to determine the identity the individuals in that data set. The good news here is k-anonymity feature is coming soon to BlockSurvey. Our technical crew is on it.

2. Why is Transparency Important?

Now, let's delve to find why transparency is important in surveys.

For an employee engagement survey (or any survey for that matter) to be successful and valuable, a majority of employees must complete it, and those who do should provide honest answers.

When taking surveys, some employees worry that their responses will be visible to their managers and can be potentially used against them in the future. If you cannot guarantee that this won’t happen, then you cannot count on people’s open, honest feedback.

To collect honest feedback, employees need to know that they can be free to share their data. The system should prevent leaders, managers, and other stakeholders from connecting responses directly to the respondent.

Most employees are afraid to take employee engagement surveys from their company desktops. This is because they think that their IP address, browser information, location and other personal information can be tracked. In this case, the employees can make use of BlockSurvey QR (Quick Response) code and can take the survey from their personal devices.

As you can see in the screen shot below, BlockSurvey by default does not collect personal information like IP address, Browser Information or location.

This is why Transparency is important in surveys and BlockSurvey abides by it. There should be transparency on how the data will be handled. This transparency gives confidence to respondents to provide straightforward answers, which fulfills the purpose of the survey.

3. Ways to Assure Respondents

There are certain ways to assure the respondents of anonymous and privacy-focused nature of survey. Let’s explore those ways to assure the respondents that their data is safe. These ways help build a rapport between survey team and the respondents.

3.1. Clear Communication

Begin the survey with a clear statement detailing how the data will be used, stored, and shared. This written communication builds trust right from the beginning. Clear communication on how data will be handled encourages straightforward and honest answers from the respondents.

3.2. Use Encrypted Platforms

Utilize survey platforms that employ encryption and other security measures to safeguard respondent data. BlockSurvey is one such end-to-end encrypted platform. It is also the first secure survey platform that is built on BlockChain.

3.3. Limit Personal Data Collection

Only gather the essential data required for the study. Avoid collecting unnecessary personal details. Think minimalistic when it comes to personal data collection. Ensure that every piece of information gathered serves a specific need, and necessary for the purpose of the study.

3.4. Do not share data

Commit to not sharing respondent data to third parties. This commitment should be taken seriously and should only be bypassed if you obtain prior consent from the respondents themselves.

3.5. Allow Opt-out options

Provide respondents the flexibility to opt out of certain questions or even choose not to participate in the entire survey. If they feel uncomfortable or if they believe that their privacy might be at risk they should be able to opt-out of survey anytime.

4. Impact of Assuring Anonymity

Now, let's discuss the impact of assuring anonymous, privacy-focused surveys to the respondents. Assuring privacy provides lot of positive impact, few of which are discussed below.

4.1. Increased Honesty

When respondents are assured of their anonymity, they are more likely to provide honest and truthful responses. This is because they have no fear of personal consequences when assured of anonymity.

4.2. Higher Completion Rates

Fear of personal data misuse can lead to survey abandonment. Assurances of data protection can alleviate these fear and lead to higher completion rates. Higher completion rate indicates survey success.

4.3. Trust Building

Repeated assurances and adherence to data protection brings a sense of trust. This sense of trust can lead to respondents being more willing to participate in future surveys or research.

5. Anonymity vs. Confidentiality

Although anonymity and confidentiality sound similar, there are differences between them. Let’s delve into discussing the difference between Anonymity and Confidentiality in Surveys.

5.1. Anonymity

Survey Anonymity means that the collected data does not contain any personally identifiable information. That is, the collected data does not include personally identifiable information like name, email, and phone number, country, signature etc. When data is anonymous, even the survey administrator cannot link the data back to the individual respondent.

5.2. Confidentiality

Survey Confidentiality, on the other hand, means that while the survey administrator can identify a given set of responses with a particular respondent, this information is not disclosed or made available to anyone outside the survey research team.

This means you collect personally identifiable data, but it is not revealed to a third party without prior approval.

6. When to run Anonymous or Confidential surveys?

Your survey purpose decide whether you need to go for Confidential surveys or Anonymous surveys.

Now, let's take the case of employee engagement surveys again. You want the employees to provide honest feedback about the organizational policies. If you want this to happen, then you must eliminate the fear of being identified in an employee engagement survey. This is because personal identification can restrict your survey respondents from giving straightforward and honest opinions. In this case, go for an anonymous survey.

Here is an example of a confidential survey. You are a product manager and need feedback about your product from different teams in your organization. In this case, you may want to know the team names to make better use of feedback. But at the same time, revealing team names should not cause attitude issues or destroy the rapport between teams. So, go for Confidential surveys, ensuring the personally identifiable results (team information) are accessible only to people who are part of the product analysis team.

Thus you can choose between running Anonymous or Confidential surveys based on the survey purpose.

Test your knowledge on Anonymity

Let’s move on to concluding thoughts.

Concluding Thoughts

In conclusion, it is important to understand that anonymity within survey processes is not just ethical responsibility but also strategic approach aimed at improving the quality and quantity of responses. This crucial aspect should not be overlooked, when you need honest responses.

The importance lies in the fact that it's all about gaining the trust of the respondents. The process of conducting a survey is intrusive, as it delves into the personal perspectives and opinions of the respondents. Hence, ensuring that these respondents trust the process is critical to determining the survey's success.

When respondents are assured that their responses are anonymous or their identity and information will be kept confidential, they are more likely to engage with the survey sincerely and wholeheartedly.

Privacy is Power. What people don’t know they can’t ruin.

The insights derived from genuine and honest responses can provide a deeper understanding, thus making the survey more robust, reliable, and beneficial for the wider community.

How Anonymity Can Get Honest Response? FAQ

How does anonymity foster honest responses?

Anonymity allows individuals to provide honest responses without fear of consequences or judgment, promoting open and candid communication.

How does anonymity relate to authoritativeness in obtaining honest responses?

Anonymity eliminates the potential for authority figures to influence responses, enabling individuals to express their genuine thoughts and experiences.

Can anonymity increase the trustworthiness of the information obtained?

Yes, anonymity can increase trustworthiness as it removes potential biases or motivations for individuals to provide dishonest or misleading information.

How does anonymity contribute to the overall E-A-T of the information obtained?

Anonymity supports the Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness of information by encouraging open and unbiased responses, resulting in more reliable and valuable insights.

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blog author description

Sarath Shyamson

Sarath Shyamson is the customer success person at BlockSurvey and also heads the outreach. He enjoys volunteering for the church choir and loves spending time with his two year old son.

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