You’ve created an engaging survey and paid attention to all the best practices. It’s time to send it out, and suddenly you aren’t sure what to do.
Should you require respondents to leave their names, or should you let them remain nameless?
In this article, we look at the pros and cons of letting survey takers remain anonymous.
Pros of Anonymous Surveys
You’ll often find that anonymous surveys can provide for more honest feedback.
The nature of a nameless survey means that respondents can answer freely without fear of reprisals or embarrassment.
Anonymous surveys work well for topics that are deeply personal and allow people to respond openly and honestly.
Cons of Anonymous Surveys
On the flip side, anonymous surveys may be less specific. You may find that if negative feedback is involved, it’s broad-based because you can’t follow-up to learn more.
In addition, if the survey is anonymous, you might not have a frame of reference for the respondents’ complaints, so you can’t be completely sure of the whole picture.
Another negative is that respondents don’t have to “own” an anonymous survey. If they have to give their name, they must also be able to stand behind their feedback and defend it.
Without ownership, your data may not always be accurate.
Once you’ve weighed the pros and cons of letting survey takers remain anonymous, you can decide which route to take.
If you’re on the fence, consider letting your survey takers decide. Give them the choice of answering their questions openly or anonymously. Do this at the start of the survey for the best results.
Finally, if you’re wondering about survey results, a university study shows that non-anonymous survey respondents are more likely to provide extra detail in their responses as opposed to anonymous responders.
This also shows that feedback quality actually can improve once the anonymity is removed. (tweet this)
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Image: Daniel Montiero