Definition: An anonymous survey gives your respondents confidence to voice their opinions without being identified. An anonymous survey does not store your respondents' IP address, location, device, or submission date. Each anonymous survey includes a seal at the top where respondents can click to learn how their identities are protected. You can create an anonymous survey using the anonymous web link or using an automated email collector.
One of the most common uses for anonymous surveys is to capture honest employee feedback. Anonymous employee surveys can help encourage new ideas, increase productivity, and reduce turnover. SurveyKing gives you the ability to run anonymous surveys quarterly or annually, helping your organization benchmark and compare results over time.
Anonymous surveys are perfect a way to capture feedback from university students. Researchers can also use anonymous academic surveys in K-12 to evaluate courses, faculty peer reviews, and parent feedback. Schools can use the data captured from anonymous academic surveys to improve the learning experience or even identity new after-school actives.
You might need to interview at-risk groups, such as immigrants. Anonymous surveys are a perfect way to collect valuable feedback while protecting the identities of the group. These groups are often unfamiliar with online survey tools, so seeing the anonymous seal on surveys gives them the confidence needed to provide honest feedback.
To create an anonymous survey, you can either use an anonymous survey link or an anonymous email collector. Both options have their advantages. An anonymous survey link is the easiest method and can be included in an email or posted to social media. An anonymous email message is sent from the SurveyKing platform and is ideal when you want to send reminders and track competition rates.
The anonymous survey link is the easiest way to collect anonymous survey responses. Large organizations can add custom data to the link to capture additional data points. To ensure anonymity, only one anonymous link is available per survey. Steps needed to create an anonymous survey link:
The anonymous email collector is ideal for employee or academic surveys. You can upload a list of respondents and send an email invitation out. The benefit to this method is our system will automatically track who has completed and not completed the survey. You won't have access to see which respondents have or have not completed the survey, only a button that says, "Send Reminders." You can also include custom data with this collector type.
To ensure anonymity, there is only one anonymous email collector per survey. If you wanted to send out a new campaign, such as a second-round employee survey, you would want to click the "Clear Messages" button. This will reset the anonymous email collector. Note: This will NOT delete survey responses.
An anonymous survey does not store your respondents' IP address, location, device, or submission date. This ensures that the survey administrator cannot indirectly identify respondents. SurveyKing also takes additional measures that other platforms ignore to help further ensure anonymity.
Taking an Anonymous Employee Survey? Ask fellow employees to see their survey link. All links should contain the same set of characters. For example, "surveyking.com/a/eqirtg7" is a link to an anonymous survey. You can include custom variables like this live example surveyking.com/a/eqirtg7&c1=Dallas Office. The important part is the "a/eqirtg7." Anything else after this is a custom variable and is protected with k-anonymity.
Identities are protected with the following measures on SurveyKing:
Custom data is important for large scale studies, such an employee survey for a multinational organization. A large organization may want to segment their data by employee location. Asking employee location on the survey may subconsciously trigger mistrust, leading to skipped questions or unreliable answers. Custom data is the solution to this problem, and this data is protected using k-anonymity to protect identities.
Below are some interactive examples of anonymous survey links with custom data appended to the end of link.
Custom data can also be used to help benchmark results. If your company sends out a quarterly employee survey, you could add "qtr1","qtr2",etc. to the link and then setup a comparison on your reports for each quarter. This would quickly allow you to compare quarterly results while maintaining anonymity.
K-anonymity is how respondent identities are kept anonymous when custom data is included with the survey. This feature works by hiding response counts and statistics that do not meet an aggregate total of at least fifty.
With the employee survey example, if there is only one employee in the "Boston" office, you would not filter or segment the results based on office location. Only if there were fifty or more employees in "Boston" would the filters or comparisons show data.
Viewing answers indirectly via filters or comparisons would also be impossible using k-anonymity. Sticking with the employee survey example, if there is only one employee in the "Boston" office and fifty employees in the "Chicago" office, you could filter by the "Chicago" office and subtract that data from the total to figure out the answers from the "Boston" employee. In this situation, k-anonymity detects that there is only one response from the "Boston" office, and thus no results would be displayed.
Anonymous surveys are best used where respondents feel that their answers may have negative repercussions. Here are some other tips to keep in mind as you are creating your anonymous survey: