Dogbert’s Approach to Respondent Privacy
Survey respondents and other participants in our research studies are the lifeblood of the polling and market research industry. Therefore it is critical that we promote and nurture public participation in research, and that we reward, respect, and thank our respondents.
So whatever you do, please don’t take Dogbert’s approach to conducting a survey:
Versta Research believes strongly in protecting the privacy of all research respondents. We adhere to the strictest standards of ethics and privacy as outlined by The Council of American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO), the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), and other industry organizations to which we belong. The following two paragraphs nicely summarize our views and approach:
“Since individuals who are interviewed are the lifeblood of the Survey Research Industry, it is essential that Survey Research Organizations be responsible for protecting from disclosure to third parties–including Clients and members of the Public–the identity of individual Respondents as well as Respondent-identifiable information, unless the Respondent expressly requests or permits such disclosure.” From the CASRO (Council of American Survey Research Organizations) Code of Standards and Ethics for Survey Research.
“Unless the respondent explicitly waives confidentiality for specified uses, we shall hold as privileged and confidential all information that could be used, alone or in combination with other reasonably available information, to identify a respondent with his or her responses. We also shall not disclose or use the names of respondents or any other personally-identifying information for non-research purposes unless the respondents grant us permission to do so.” From the AAPOR (American Association for Public Opinion Research) Code of Professional Ethics & Practice.
In the spirit of tomorrow’s holiday, we extend warm thanks to the many people who participate in our research, and we pledge to continue our work to protect research from the likes of Dogbert. We also promise not to call you tomorrow during Thanksgiving dinner, hoping that you’ll answer just a few short questions for our survey.
—Joe Hopper, Ph.D.