What's the best way to track participant groups while maintaining anonymity?

mst0135 Omaha, Nebraska, USACommunity Member Qubie ✭
edited July 29 in Survey Platform

I'm attempting to conduct a survey using proportionate stratified random sampling and I'm trying to figure out how to keep track of which group my participants are in without collecting identifiable information. I have four groups (City, Suburb, Rural, and Town) that I am trying to gain a representative sample from. However, the participants wouldn't already know which group they are in and I don't want them to have to report their school district (which is how I am determining their group).

So, my ideas are to create a question where participants would have to enter a code that I include in the recruitment email that would correspond to the given groups (i.e. 4001 = City, 4002 = Suburb, etc.). The code would be the same for all the participants that meet the criteria for City and so on. I could then use this code in my analysis to compare groups.

I've also thought about copying the survey to create a unique URL for each group and then applying an identifier in a new variable once I have concluded data collection. Then I would just aggregate all 4 datasets into a master dataset.

I've also looked into sending the recruitment emails via Qualtrics Distribution so I can upload participant contact information into 4 separate contact lists representing each group. However, I haven't been able to figure out how to track which contact list the submission came from.

I'm sure there are better ways of doing this and I would love to know your thoughts! How should I track group information without making the participants either look it up themselves or have to share identifiable information in the survey? Any thoughts are appreciated!


  • MatthewM
    MatthewM Chicago, ILCommunity Member, Qualtrics Brand Admin Superuser ✭✭✭✭

    Hi @mst0135 ,

    Have you looked into using Query Strings? That should allow you to use the same general survey link, while appending the group type to it so you can segment the responses, while still keeping them anonymous (and not asking them to enter any type of code, which could be prone to error).

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