Allowing Anonymous Respondents To Remove Their Data.

If you’re running an anonymous survey, you may want or need to allow respondents to request that their response is removed at a later date.

This naturally presents challenges in terms of identifying the response to be removed – however it is possible to set up a survey to allow this without compromising respondent anonymity.

The most important thing to note though is that his needs to be built into the survey from the start. It can’t be retroactively added to an old survey, (or more correctly, it can, but won’t apply to any responses collected before this is applied).

SmartSurvey Response IDs

Every response collected by SmartSurvey has a unique ID number. We call this, unsurprisingly, the “Response ID”. This ID can be piped into the survey, while the respondent is completing it.

What this means is that it’s possible to show the respondent a unique code identifying their response, but we as the survey creator will be able to see that ID as when we view a response, but won’t know who supplied it.

How to set up a survey that allows anonymous response removal.

You will need an account level that allows you to customise the “thank you” message shown at the conclusion of the survey via the Survey Settings.

On the thank you page, all you need to do is add some text along the lines of:

“Your response was collected anonymously, but If you decide to withdraw your participation in this study, you can do so by contacting us and quoting the following ID for your response. This number is unique to your response and has only been shown to you. We can use the ID to identify a response, but not a respondent. Please note this for your records now if you think you may want to withdraw your response. We will not be able to retrieve it for you in future if you contact us.”

Then add this piping tag:

[survey(userid)]

Dealing with an enquiry or request to withdraw participation

As long as the respondent noted their response ID, when they enquire about their data, all you need to do is the following:

  1. Access your account
  2. Access the survey
  3. Go to the “Results” tab for the survey
  4. From the “More”(Cog) drop down, click “Search”.
  5. Paste the response ID you’ve been supplied with into the “Search by ID” box as pictured:

Then you can delete or otherwise access the data as for any response.


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