How-toConduct anonymous surveys with LimeSurvey

This how-to describes how to register with LimeSurvey and how to conduct anonymous surveys with LimeSurvey.

Signing in as a survey administrator

As soon as you have received the notification that you have been registered as a survey administrator, you can log in to the system using your Uni ID. To do this, visit the website linked above.

Select LDAP as the authentication method and sign in with your Uni ID and the corresponding password.

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Conduct anonymous surveys

If you would like to conduct an anonymous survey, you need to take the following aspects into consideration:

1. The questions themselves should not collect any personal data from the survey participants, that is, no names, emails, or anything else that would allow any connection to be drawn to the participant. Under certain circumstances, this could also include items such as the subject of study and semester number.

2. Configure the following settings for your survey in LimeSurvey:

  • Anonymized responses: On
Screenshot: Anleitung:LimeSurvey_Schritt1
  • Save IP address: Off
  • Save referrer URL: Off

You can find these settings either under participant settings or under Notifications & data.

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Closed surveys – guarantees responses will be given a single time

LimeSurvey offers the possibility to create closed surveys. Selected participants will receive an individual participation link, which allows them to answer the questions only once.
The names and email addresses of the participants can be saved in a participant databank within LimeSurvey or separately from LimeSurvey, for example, in Excel.
If the participant data is saved in LimeSurvey, the survey administrators can send a reminder to respondents who are slow to submit their answers. With anonymous surveys, no inferences can be made from the actual responses of individual participants.

You can enter participants via the menu item Survey participants.

You can enter participants via Create..., either manually (Add participant) or importing them from a CSV file.

When conducting an anonymous survey, it is necessary to clarify where the names and email addresses will be stored and to ensure that it will not be possible to connect the participants to their survey answers.

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If you choose Create dummy participants, then a certain number of participants (10 in the screenshot) will be created without specific first and last names, but rather with tokens.

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These tokens can now be distributed outside of LimeSurvey to the survey participants, via email, on a slip of paper, etc.

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Saving unfinished surveys

Particularly with extensive surveys, one cannot expect the survey to be answered in one sitting. The participants may want/need to take a break and then resume where they left off.
In principle, it is possible to do this in LimeSurvey. This is an automatic setting for closed surveys, but for anonymous, open surveys the participants will need to be appropriately instructed on how to do this.
The setting to save unfinished surveys can be turned on through Notifications & data.

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When this setting has been turned on, the options “Resume later” and “Exit and clear survey” will appear in the upper right of the survey browser window.

When a participant clicks on “Resume later”, another window will open in which they can enter a name, password, and an email address (optional).

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This information will be stored in a second databank to which the survey administrator typically does not have access. The participants should be informed about this option and should be asked not to use their Uni ID or any other project number with the corresponding password. Instead, they should use a pseudonym and a new password and, if possible, avoid using the email address option.

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Questions or comments?

If you have any additional questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Carina Ortseifen via the URZ IT Service.