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Anonymisation in Surveys – Sending an email that includes a unique participant identifier

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When distributing surveys, you can set up a unique participant identifier that can track whether a given participant has responded and if not, send them reminder emails.

You may need participants to log in to ensure that they only complete a questionnaire once, or to enable Snap Online to keep track of their responses. To set up a login page, you must have a known list of participants and they must each have a unique ID that they use to log in. In Snap Desktop this must be set up using database link.

To make life simple for participants and help to increase your response rate, the email invitations can contain a link to the survey that, when clicked, automatically logs the participant into the survey.

What you need

  • A unique email address for each participant. You can also add additional fields to personalise your email invite and login details.
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Creating a new database link

  1. In the Survey Overview window, open the survey.
  2. Click Database Links DBLinksIcon.png on the Snap Desktop toolbar or select File | Database Link to open the Database Links window.
  3. Click the New button. This opens the Database Linkage Wizard where you create a new database link.

Selecting the participant file

  1. In the Database Linkage Wizard, select Online Invites/Logins/Seeding option. Click Next to select the database file.
DBLinkWizA.png
  1. Click Select Database File and browse to the file containing the participants’ email addresses. Click Next.
DBLinkWizB.png
  1. As Snap Online will be tracking and identifying participants, select Log in participant.
  2. Select the unique participant ID/login field from the drop-down list. This will be used to set up the participants in Snap Online.
  3. Select Send email invitations and reminders – this instructs Snap Online to send email invites and reminders to your participants.
  4. Make sure the box which says Identify participants in the response data is unchecked.
LoginOptions1.png
  1. Click Next.

Creating the email invitation

  1. The email invitations are created next. Check the Use HTML emails if you wish to have styled HTML emails.
  2. Set the Email address field option; select the appropriate unique email address from the drop down menu.
  3. Add a subject heading in the Email subject and text box.
  4. Type the email message in the Invitation tab and if required, the Reminder tab.
  5. Click Insert to add a Survey Location link. This provides a link for the participant to access the survey and must be included in the email message.
  6. You should also include a link enabling your participants to opt out of the survey using the Survey Opt Out link by clicking Insert.
Create an email invitation
  1. Click Next. You will see a summary of what the database link does.  Give the database link a name.
  2. Select Finish returning to the Database Links dialog.

Generating the participant data

  1. Click Run to generate the new participant data. This displays the Run Database Link dialog.
Database links dialog listing the links for the survey
  1. The Database Link contains the link that will be generated and the Online Account that the Snap Online account where the participants are generated. This information is read only.
Run the database link and upload the results to Snap Online
  1. Choose an option for Participants and Seeding.

Option

Description

Do nothing

Does not load any participant or seeding data changes to Snap Online.

Add new participants only

Add new participants’ data will be loaded but this will not update any changes to existing participants’ data.

Update participants

This will insert new participants and also update changes to existing participants’ data. This may overwrite any changes made in Snap Online to existing participants. This option will not remove participants that are no longer in the new list of participants or that have been added in Snap Online.

Replace all participants

This will replace all participants’ data by removing all the existing participants and replacing them with the new list. This will remove existing participants that are no longer in the new list of participants. This will mean any updates made to participants or new participants added in Snap Online will be lost.

  1. Choose an option for Invites and Reminders.

Option

Description

Do nothing

There are no changes made. The process will not upload any invitation or reminder changes to Snap Online.

Define or replace

This will add the invitation and reminder when they are generated for the first time. When there are already uploaded invitations and reminders this option will remove all the existing invitations and reminders to replace them with the new invitation and reminder set up in Snap Desktop.

  1. Click OK to automatically upload the participant data to Snap Online.
  2. Once you have finished the database link, you will need to make sure the id.name system variable has been set.
  3. Click on Questionnaire Properties QuestionnairePropsIcon.png .
  4. Scroll to the Paradata section. Highlight the Participant option in the System Variables list and select Display in survey. Click OK.
Display the Participant paradata in Questionnaire properties
  1. This creates a new variable at the top of the survey called ID.name. To enable your participants to log in automatically, highlight the question, right click and select Hide Variable.
Hide the variable
  1. The question will be hidden from the participant; Snap Online will seed the unique identifier into the system variable automatically.
  2. The survey is ready to be published.

If there is a topic you would like a worksheet on, email to snapideas@snapsurveys.com

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