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An anonymous study is one in which nobody (not even the researcher) can identify who provided data. It is difficult to conduct an anonymous questionnaire through the mail because of the need to follow-up on nonresponders. The only way to do a follow-up is to mail another survey or reminder postcard to the entire sample. However, it is possible to guarantee confidentiality, where those conducting the study promise not to reveal the information to anyone. For the purpose of follow-up, identifying numbers on questionnaires are generally preferred to using respondents' names. It is important, however, to explain why the number is there and what it will be used for.

Some studies have shown that response rate is affected by the anonymity/confidentiality policy of a study. Others have reported that responses became more distorted when subjects felt threatened that their identities would become known. Others have found that anonymity and confidentiality issues do not affect response rates or responses..

 

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