Web surveys and preserving anonymity
An issue that has given our customers cause for concern is whether surveys run and administered by SNAP Online preserve participants’ anonymity.
If you have ever received an e-mail request inviting you to take part in a SNAP Online survey, you will have noticed the long URL (web address) that takes you to the survey. When you click on this link you are directed to the survey web page and at the same time, information about who you are and your e-mail address is recorded and stored in an ‘identification’ data file. This file is stored separately from your survey responses and is used only to generate e-mail reminders if you have not completed the survey. In this way we reduce the number of e-mails you receive.
There is no link between the identification data file and the ‘responses’ data file, nor is there any form of common identifier, so your responses cannot be linked to you. In addition, the identification file is stored in a format which only the survey software can read and there is no means of extracting it.
When the survey is closed, the identification file is automatically deleted. As the response file does not contain any personal identification information (unless you have entered it in response to a question) your anonymity is preserved.
If you have any questions regarding SNAP Online and web based surveys, please contact John Lemon, Student Liaison Officer on firstname.lastname@example.org