Anonymous Responses Are Useless

From Garrick Van Buren’s Work Better Weblog

One of my current projects has a major survey component. The survey ends with:

If you’d be open to follow up questions, enter your email address below.

There’s about a 60 / 40 split on responses with emails and those without. The responses without email addresses have skipped questions, irrelevant answers, and are generally unusable. This is so much the case, that I’ve found it a better use of time to check for an email address first – then read the response.

It’s interesting that people comfortable with being contacted give useful answers, while those providing non-useful responses don’t provide a way to be contacted.

Conventional wisdom on requiring accountability has it backward. Accountable people want to be responsible for their actions. Those that aren’t don’t. Forcing it doesn’t change anything.

This is purely anecdotal of course, and may not generalize to other surveys about other topics, but nonetheless seemed an interesting data point.


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