Questions may be more sensitive than we realize. To help ensure confidentiality, you should only require a minimal amount of information that would be used to identify a survey participant. In addition, the surveying company's staff or employees should not use or discuss information that would identify the participants for anything other than the purpose for which the survey was conducted or for collecting follow up information from participants.
If information is going to be distributed, the information that identifies participants should be withheld or masked to avoid the revealing of participants.
The following techniques should help to maintain confidentiality of the survey participants.
- Use only number or letter codes to link the respondent to a questionnaire. A key containing the name-to-code linkage information should be stored separately from the questionnaire
- Do not give the names and addresses of survey respondents to anyone outside the survey organization, including clients
- Questionnaires and identifying information about respondents should be destroyed after the responses have been entered into the computer
Delete the names and addresses of survey respondents from computer files used for analysis
- Only conduct statistical tabulations when individual respondents cannot be singled out from the results.