How to create an anonymous survey: Valuable tips | SurveyPlanet (2023)

Conducting an anonymous survey is one of the best practices you can use in research. First, if you make your survey confidential, potential respondents are more likely to participate and share their honest opinions. Secondly, you are ensuring that your research results can be analyzed without any bias.

But to do that, you need to get familiar with the best practices when conducting surveys. For example, even though there are numerous circumstances when it is crucial to create an anonymous survey, there are also some instances when it is not recommended.

Additionally, you need to know how to find the right anonymous survey tool to use.

Continue reading to find out how to make the best anonymous online survey by following some straightforward steps, as well as how to protect your respondents’ identities when a purely anonymous survey is not an option.

What is an anonymous survey? And why should you use one?

Simply put, the survey is anonymous if the personal information of respondents remains confidential (i.e., unknown to any of the researchers). This means that an anonymous questionnaire shouldn’t collect identifying information such as name, date of birth, address, etc. This way researchers can’t link survey responses to individual participants.

Certain questionnaires need to have demographic survey questions because such data is crucial for accurate research results. However, many people are reluctant to provide feedback about their ethnic background, educational status, or income level.

(Video) How to Create an Anonymous Survey in 8 Steps

Making your survey anonymous can help you collect all necessary feedback while also protecting sensitive information. Anonymous surveys provide the following benefits:

  • An increased response rate: Respondents are more likely to participate when they know their personal information remains confidential.
  • More honest feedback: This will result in more accurate data, with anonymity also increasing the willingness of participants to be honest.
  • An unbiased analysis of the collected data: This is especially true in cases where knowing the identity of your participants could affect your analysis.

Bear in mind that there are also additional data that should be excluded from questionnaires for them to be truly anonymous. This includes IP address and contact information (such as an email address).

When should you make an anonymous survey?

Before explaining how to make an anonymous survey, we should first cover the reasons why to use one in the first place. We will do this by listing some situations in which this type of survey is most beneficial.

An anonymous questionnaire is highly useful in circumstances where revealing the identity of respondents can be problematic, either for respondents personally or for the results of your research. Here are some examples:

  • When your survey covers a sensitive topic, respondents will feel more comfortable expressing their honest opinion if they remain anonymous.
  • When knowing the identity of the respondents, or their specific personal information, can lead to bias when analyzing responses.
  • When there is a possibility of retaliation against the respondents (for example, when reporting abuse in school or workplace).

Are there any cases when you can’t use anonymous surveys?

When you need to do a follow-up survey, you can’t have participants be anonymous because you have to know which people to contact afterward.

So, how can you avoid knowing their identities and still be able to follow up?

By using a free anonymous survey tool to create a questionnaire and then share it with your participants via your newsletter. One of the many features of our free anonymous survey creator is survey embedding, which makes it easy for you to share pre-made survey templates via email.

(Video) How to create Anonymous Survey for WordPress | Explained for Begginers

Using this tool, you can send a follow-up survey to all email addresses without having to know which participants completed the survey. When doing so, keep in mind that you need to turn off all conversion trackers in order for the recipients to stay anonymous.

However, there are certain circumstances when sending out general follow-up questions to all potential participants won’t be an option. Instead, you will have to contact specific respondents and ask for their feedback.

In that case, the best solution is to designate one party that will keep all the personal information unknown to everyone participating in the research. When conducting an anonymous employee survey, this role can be taken on by the company’s HR department or an outside company.

Five tips on how to make the best anonymous surveys

Creating anonymous surveys is not at all complicated. Here are our top five tips that will help you create your next anonymous questionnaire with ease.

Underline the anonymity of the survey

Make sure your participants know their personal information is protected. Simply stating “This survey is anonymous” may not be enough for some participants to feel safe participating. Instead, explain in more detail how this is accomplished with the protocols you have put in place. It’s best to do this in your welcome message.

Provide extra information about the research

It is imperative to give your participants a chance to get familiar with your survey. People feel more comfortable participating when they know what the research is about. Explain its goals, who will analyze the feedback (and how), and the purposes for which it will be used.

Choose the right anonymous survey maker

When creating anonymous surveys, you need to make sure you are using the right tool. The best anonymous survey tool is one that can offer all the features you need while saving both money and time.

(Video) Creating an Anonymous Survey in onQ

That’s why we created SurveyPlanet, a free anonymous survey maker with numerous features. Apart from many pre-made survey questions, themes, and survey templates available, our survey software offers important features such as anonymity, embedding, result exporting and filtering, white-label surveys, and more.

Use a large sample

The more people you include in your research, the more difficult it will be to identify participants through their responses (if you were to try to). That is why it is essential to use a large sample. If you start with a group of people you know, expand the sample as much as the research allows.

Pay attention to the questions you’re asking

This is not about different question types like Likert scale, NET promoter score, or open-ended survey questions. Instead, we are talking about the content of your questions and how these can unintentionally compromise respondents’ identities.

For example, when you create a survey that will be used in the workplace, make sure you don’t ask for employees’ departments or job positions. Don’t ask about specific experiences or relationships with others that can be unique to a particular respondent.

Lastly, remember that when combined a series of questions and responses may reveal someone’s identity. To avoid this, keep the previous questions in mind when writing new ones, and make sure you don’t make too many personal inquiries.

Three research areas that benefit the most from anonymous surveys

Anonymous research surveys can be used in many different areas, such as education, healthcare, the public sector, and many more. Here are some of the most important ones.

Workplace: Exploring employee engagement and satisfaction

It is important to conduct surveys on company culture and other employee surveys because they provide you with valuable feedback about each employee’s experience at work. However, not all surveys provide you with accurate data.

(Video) How to use Microsoft Forms

Employees are often very reluctant to state their honest opinion, especially about sensitive subjects such as leadership and management, job satisfaction, or potential maltreatment. This is because they are afraid of retaliation from their superiors or colleagues.

Creating an anonymous survey is essential if you want to know their honest opinions. Only then can you expect to gather data that will strengthen your research.

Market research: Testing new products and profiling your target audience

Using anonymous surveys is extremely beneficial in market research. However, many people skip this kind of survey, not because there is a possibility of retribution for stating your consumer habits but because people are skeptical about providing their personal information.

Creating anonymous market research surveys will increase your survey response rate and provide you with more extensive and honest feedback. Such data can be used to build future business success.

Customer experience and customer satisfaction

Customers are the key point to every successful business. If you want to know how you’re doing on the market and grow your business, you need to understand their opinions and needs.

Different kinds of customer surveys measure customer experience with your products or the overall customer service you provide. In an anonymous customer satisfaction survey, customers can leave honest reviews without fearing retaliation or misusing personal information.

When using anonymous surveys, people feel more comfortable participating and sharing their honest opinions. That is the most significant advantage of this practice. If you want to improve your research, sign up for a free SurveyPlanet account and start creating anonymous surveys today.

(Video) The Best FREE Survey Tools 2022

Photo by Mikael Kristenson on Unsplash


What is the best way to do an anonymous survey? ›

Making surveys anonymous
  1. Do not include any questions that ask the respondent for identifying details.
  2. Make sure that respondents can opt-out of receiving your survey invitations.
  3. Be transparent about why you are collecting the data and how it will be used.

Do anonymous surveys get more responses? ›

Response rates for anonymous surveys are usually better than for non-confidential surveys. This is because people are more likely to trust the stated intentions of an anonymous survey.

Can you make an anonymous survey? ›

Definition: An anonymous survey is a convenient way to collect feedback while keeping identities confidential. An anonymous survey does not store your respondents' IP address, location, device, or submission date. You can create an anonymous survey using an anonymous link or by using an anonymous email collector.

How do you ensure survey monkey responses anonymously? ›

To turn on Anonymous Responses:
  1. Go to the Collect Responses section of your survey.
  2. Click the name of the collector.
  3. Go to the collector options. ...
  4. Click Anonymous Responses.
  5. Choose to exclude all respondent information to exclude first name, last name, email address, IP address, and custom data from your results.

Do you need consent for an anonymous survey? ›

Research involving no more than minimal risk of harm to human participants still requires the participants' consent, but may not require that participants sign a written consent form. Anonymous surveys and interviews that present minimal risk, for example, may not require written consent.

Are anonymous surveys honest? ›

You gain more honest feedback

When a survey is anonymous, respondents are more inclined to discuss sensitive issues and provide more detailed and honest feedback. It's why we tend to see more anonymous staff surveys, compared to those that require staff to provide identifiable information.

What is the problem with anonymous surveys? ›

You'll only get honest feedback under cover of anonymity—and you'll never be able to have a real dialogue. You'll never be able to ask follow-up questions to specific responses. By extension, you'll never be able to fully understand the problem.

Is 100 survey responses enough? ›

As a very rough rule of thumb, 200 responses will provide fairly good survey accuracy under most assumptions and parameters of a survey project. 100 responses are probably needed even for marginally acceptable accuracy.

Is 50 Responses enough for a survey? ›

Factors that impact this include, how engaged your customers are with your brand, and whether you're delivering surveys in a way that's easy for them. Nevertheless, a good survey response rate ranges between 5% and 30%. An excellent response rate is 50% or higher.

How do I create a survey confidential form? ›

Yes. Just click the three dots at the top right corner to open the Form Settings; then uncheck the box labeled Record name. This will make the form anonymous.

Can you use Google Forms for an anonymous survey? ›

Google Forms can be anonymous if they're made that way

First, any questions that would reveal personal information, like a name or email address, should not be included in the form, especially as required questions. Additionally, you must make sure that the form is not set to collect email addresses from respondents.

What is the difference between confidential and anonymous survey? ›

Anonymity refers to a situation where the identity of the respondent isn't known by anyone doing the survey. Confidentiality refers to a situation where the identity of the respondent is known by the system administering the survey, but great steps are taken to protect that identity from being revealed to anyone.

Is SurveyMonkey truly anonymous? ›

SurveyMonkey provides the tools for creators to configure their surveys how they want. This includes allowing them to collect strictly anonymous responses, or to choose to identify their respondents.

Can other people see SurveyMonkey results? ›

You can allow anyone with a link to see the results, or, if you're concerned about the data's security, you can add a password to safeguard the results from the link.

Can you manipulate SurveyMonkey results? ›

A respondent can edit their survey responses from any computer since their responses are tied to their email address and not a cookie in their browser. Respondents can change their answers on any survey page until they complete the survey.

What are the ethics for an anonymous survey? ›

Subjects cannot have their names on their surveys or on informed consent documents. No open-ended questions can be included that would provide the ability of the researcher to trace the handwriting of a subject.

What should a survey avoid asking? ›

5 common survey question mistakes that'll ruin your data
  • Don't write leading questions. ...
  • Avoid loaded questions. ...
  • Stay away from double-barreled questions. ...
  • Absolutely do not use absolutes in questions. ...
  • Be clear by speaking your respondent's language.

Are confidential surveys really confidential? ›

Confidential employee surveys provide employees with some privacy. But certain employee identifiers are associated with the response, so they're not totally anonymous. While these identifiers are visible to a certain group of people, only a few people in the organization have access to this information.

Are anonymous reviews destructive? ›

During a time where online reviews can make or break a business, anonymous bad reviews can be especially damaging. You may feel that there's not much you can do about them. You don't have their name or any details to contact them.

What is the opposite of an anonymous survey? ›

The opposite is for the employee to know that survey responses are connected to their name and identity. I will call this an “attributed” survey.

What are the pros and cons of anonymous surveys? ›

The pros and cons of an anonymous survey using survey software
  • Pros of an Anonymous Survey. ...
  • Provide Honest Feedback. ...
  • No Fear or Embarrassment Worries. ...
  • Better Response Rates. ...
  • Provide Identity Protection. ...
  • Cons of an Anonymous Survey. ...
  • Difficulties in Following Up. ...
  • Less Specific.
Feb 20, 2019

What are 3 disadvantages of surveys? ›

Disadvantages of Surveys
  • Inflexible Design. The survey that was used by the researcher from the very beginning, as well as the method of administering it, cannot be changed all throughout the process of data gathering. ...
  • Not Ideal for Controversial Issues. ...
  • Possible Inappropriateness of Questions.

What is the best response scale for survey? ›

Taken as a whole this study suggests using of seven-point rating scale and if there is a need to have respondent to be directed on one side, then six-point scale is the most suitable.

What makes a survey statistically valid? ›

Statistical Validity indicates how much one can rely on the conclusions derived from a survey sample. The combinations of proper sampling methods, adequate sample sizes and unbiased data collection improve the reliability of survey results.

What percentage makes a survey statistically valid? ›

This means that you need to survey a certain number of people to ensure your research results are statistically valid. A typical survey response rate goes from 5 percent to 30 percent, while a response rate of 50 percent or higher is considered excellent.

What is a reasonable number of questions for a survey? ›

So how many questions should you ask on a survey? There is no hard and fast answer. However, as a general rule, the survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete; less than five minutes is more than twice as good. Typically, this means about five to 10 questions.

Does sample size matter in surveys? ›

A larger sample size should hypothetically lead to more accurate or representative results, but when it comes to surveying large populations, bigger isn't always better. In fact, trying to collect results from a larger sample size can add costs – without significantly improving your results.

How many questions are reasonable in a survey? ›

A good questionnaire can be of 25 to 30 questions and should be able to be administered within 30 min to keep the interest and attention of the participants intact.

How do you state confidentiality in a survey? ›

Pledge of Confidentiality

I will keep completely confidential all information arising from surveys concerning individual respondents to which I gain access. I will not discuss, disclose, disseminate, or provide access to survey data and identifiers.

Can you make forms responses anonymous? ›

Set your form to collect anonymous responses.

Go to the "More Options" menu. Go to Settings. Select the "Only people in my organization can respond" radio button. De-select "record name" and select "one response per person."

How do I make my smart survey anonymous? ›

To enable anonymous responses:
  1. Go to the Collect page of your survey.
  2. Hover over the Tracking Link you wish to anonymise, select Settings.
  3. Under Link Settings, check the Anonymous Survey box.

Can you see who responded to a Google form? ›

View responses

See answers by person or, if you allowed people to submit the form more than once, by submission. Open a form in Google Forms. At the top of the form, click Responses. Click Individual.

What is the difference between Google survey and Google Forms? ›

Google Surveys can help organizations understand their data by converting it into simple charts and graphs. Unlike Google Forms, which is free to use, Google Surveys charges fees based on the number of completed responses to your survey.

Can you tell who responded to SurveyMonkey? ›

Before you send your survey, decide if you want to track who's taken your survey or if you want to keep responses anonymous. You need to set up your survey to track respondents before you send it out. It's not possible to start tracking responses after the survey is sent.

Do surveys track your IP address? ›

A survey using an anonymous link will not collect a respondent's name or email address, but will collect IP address and location information.

Does SurveyMonkey Show your name? ›

While survey creators collect responses, as the platform hosting the survey, we only collect the data we need to ensure an excellent user experience. And what we do collect is protected, aggregated and anonymised so you're not identifiable. Therefore, SurveyMonkey is confidential.

Where do SurveyMonkey responses go? ›

As long as you send out the correct survey link, responses are saved and recorded in the Analyze Results section of your survey whenever: A respondent completes a page of the survey and clicks the Next button to continue to the next page. A respondent finishes the survey and clicks the Done button.

Can you share a SurveyMonkey survey for free? ›

Basic (free) plan: you can make your own surveys, comment on other people's surveys and results, and share data pages with anyone. Individual paid plans: you get access to more powerful features, like using survey logic in your design or exporting your results, plus, you'll get additional shared data page options.

Does SurveyMonkey own your data? ›

Who owns my survey data? You do. You retain ownership of your survey data and may delete it at any time. You can also export it in a wide range of file formats to perform your own analysis on it or to make a backup copy for yourself.

How do you analyze survey data with multiple responses? ›

The three general steps are:
  1. Define a set of two more responses (you cannot do step 2 without doing this step first) ...
  2. Obtain multiple response frequencies (or cross-tabs) of the set you created - this will provide frequencies and percentages of each response option by total number of responses and by cases.
Oct 6, 2020

How many responses does SurveyMonkey allow? ›

Let's say you need to collect basic information before digging deeper – that's almost impossible with only 10 questions. SurveyMonkey also places a limit on the number of responses you can get, capping you at 100. Even with a paid monthly plan, you can only see 1,000 responses per month.

How do I see more than 10 responses on SurveyMonkey? ›

Responses over the survey's limit aren't viewable and will be deleted 60 days after they're collected. TIP! To view and keep access to all of your responses, upgrade to a paid plan.

How do I create an anonymous free survey? ›

How to build an anonymous survey
  1. Look at each survey collector you're using. You'll need to turn on anonymous responses for each collector (or way to send your survey) you use. ...
  2. Don't use identifiable custom data or Custom Variables. ...
  3. Review the questions you're asking—both at an individual and at a holistic level.

Can SurveyMonkey do anonymous surveys? ›

SurveyMonkey provides the tools for creators to configure their surveys how they want. This includes allowing them to collect strictly anonymous responses, or to choose to identify their respondents.

How do I send a survey to random people? ›

Distribute a Survey: Table of Contents
  1. Random Device Engagement.
  2. Share your survey on social media.
  3. Share your survey on your website or blog.
  4. Hire a Market Research Agency.
  5. Send Surveys Via Email.
Apr 7, 2022

Does Google have a free survey tool? ›

Google Forms is totally free to use. As long as you have a Google account, you can access Google Forms in its entirety—completely free. SurveyMonkey does have a free Basic plan, but it's pretty limited, especially compared to everything you get at no cost with Google Forms: Pictures and backgrounds.

Can Mailchimp make surveys anonymous? ›

Survey responses will be anonymous unless you can add a question to the survey to collect identifying information. From the Reports section in your Mailchimp account, you can view SurveyMonkey Stats to see who received, started, or completed the survey.

How do I make an anonymous survey for a team? ›

Add a poll to a Teams channel or chat

Add your question and answer options. If you want to allow multiple answers, click or tap the toggle next to Multiple answers. Also select whether you want to Share results automatically after voting and/or Keep responses anonymous. Select Save.

What is an example of a confidentiality statement for a survey? ›

I will keep completely confidential all information arising from surveys concerning individual respondents to which I gain access. I will not discuss, disclose, disseminate, or provide access to survey data and identifiers.


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