Confidentiality vs. Anonymity

Confidentiality is not  sharing information collected from your survey.  Only the survey owners,  collaborators, or individuals associated with the survey can review the  responses; however, they must not share the collected information with anyone  outside of the project.

Anonymity is not collecting  private, personally identifiable information such as name, address, email  address, or the IP address and/or the participant identities cannot be linked  back to their individual responses.

How To Make Your Qualtrics Survey Anonymous

There  are two types of surveys you can create:  Open Access and By Invitation  Only

Open  Access surveys can be taken by anyone and are therefore anonymous by default; however,  they still collect IP addresses.  In some cases, IP addresses are considered  identifiable information if they can be linked to an individual.  By  Invitation Only surveys are restricted to a panel of individuals you invite  and are sent a unique survey link using the Qualtrics survey mailer.

To  ensure your surveys are completely anonymous, you should set your surveys to Anonymize  Responses, which automatically removes all personally identifiable  information, as well as the IP address.  This can be accomplished using  the following two methods:

Will My Survey Remain Anonymous if Using a Panel and Qualtrics  Survey Mailer?


Once  you set your survey to anonymize responses, all personally identifiable  information, as well as the IP address will still be removed from the data  responses; however, there is an Email History which can be downloaded.   Within the Email History download, you can still see who (panel member’s  name and email address) completed the survey, but there is no way to link  the panel member back to his/her response.  The Response ID, End Date, and  Link are omitted for privacy.

How Can I Collect Contact Information on an Anonymous Survey?

Sometimes you may have a survey, such as a gift drawing, in which you still need to collect contact information (i.e., name and email address). You need to create two surveys in order to keep that collected information separated from the anonymous survey responses.  Survey set up instructions can be found on the Qualtrics website.


Email Triggers

Email Triggers can be configured to send you or whomever you designate an email notification and include the participants' responses.  By default, the option "Include Response Report" is selected.  By leaving that option checked, the participant's responses will be emailed to you or whomever you designate to receive the email notification; thus, you must be careful to understand who you are sending the information to.  Configuring it to send to the wrong individual(s) can compromise a participant's anonymity and confidentiality.


NOTE:  Just as a survey  can easily be made anonymous, it can easily be made non-anonymous by disabling  the anonymize responses setting at  any time.  If this occurs, all personally identifiable information, as  well as the IP address will be included in the data responses and email history  download if a panel was used.