How to create an anonymous survey

Anonymous surveys offer participants a more comfortable opportunity to provide honest and direct feedback. Plus, it’s not always important to know who responded to a survey — but it is critical to gather responses and turn them into actionable data

Combining identity security and honest feedback can create a source of powerful information for almost anybody, whether they’re a multibillion dollar organization or a teacher who wants to know how their students are doing. 

Let’s look at the benefits of anonymous surveys, how to craft one, and how Jotform makes survey creation simple.

The advantages of using anonymous surveys

By anonymizing a survey, you give people the ability to answer more honestly than they might if they had to provide their name. This helps eliminate bias and makes for more accurate data collection. 

For example, anonymous employee feedback programs can help identify problems in a business that could otherwise remain uncovered if social and political dynamics in the company make people uncomfortable about speaking out.

Speaking of politics, that’s another great example of how anonymizing surveys can provide more realistic data, as people are often reluctant to attach their names to that sort of information. 

Finally, anonymous surveys can also help provide important marketing data for businesses by tapping into the mindset of their consumers. And with tools like Jotform, you can make sure you’ll only get one response from each person by using the unique submission feature, which eliminates the need to attach any identifying personal information. 

The basics of creating an anonymous survey

When preparing to craft your surveys, you may want to seek professional copywriting services, particularly when you’re using surveys for marketing purposes. You can expect to pay $25 per hour for a quality freelance writer in the United States. It’s best to find someone with experience in market research. 

If you plan to do it yourself, make sure that you communicate to your audience what information you intend to collect with the survey and how you intend to use it. For example, will you incorporate the answers in a scientific paper? Are you specifically not collecting names, age, ethnicity, etc.? 

Similarly, you may want to inform participants of any data security strategies you’re employing to keep their information safe and make them feel comfortable about filling out your survey.

Another thing to keep in mind is how to formulate the questions for the survey. Base the question types on the kind of data you’re looking for. 

For example, open-ended questions are great for detailed responses and feedback, but it takes time to sift through those responses. In contrast, multiple choice or scale rating questions will give you simple and direct answers, but they may lack the specificity you need. 

While a single question might not answer a specific question, you can likely get the data you need if you use several questions. Keep your questions direct and avoid ambiguity. There are a lot of important things to consider when you’re developing anonymous surveys.

Also keep in mind that even if you’re going for anonymity, knowing the demographic you’re surveying is still important. For example, if you know that 10 percent of your company is Latinx and you’re specifically interested in the experiences of this group, you can narrow down your target demographic. 

And asking for demographic information can help you incorporate diversity in your marketing strategies and get better data and insights for your customers.

The bottom line

An anonymous survey can help you maintain trust with your audience. But it’s important to ensure that your survey doesn’t potentially violate anyone’s privacy by exposing sensitive data. 

Picking the right platform can go a long way toward gathering better data. Jotform not only provides powerful tools for surveys, but it also gives survey participants an extra level of trust with sophisticated security measures, including optional HIPAA compliance.

Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting herself full time to technical writing, she served — among other things — as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.

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