One of the survey specific reports you can pull from EHQ reporting is the Codified Survey report which exports as an Excel file.
This file contains a User ID which you can, potentially, use to identify multiple submissions from the same anonymous participant. Let us explain what this is and what it can do.
Before you read on, be advised that we recommend you ALWAYS choose "Registered Participants Only" as your participation mode in surveys. We encourage you to build your community and therefore you should ask people to register before participating.
How is this User ID captured?
When an anonymous visitor comes to your site, we leave a cookie in their browser. This is common practice across the web to identify repeat visitors and improve their website experience. We do this predominantly for reporting purposes so we know when visitors return and we can report accurately on your aware, informed and engaged numbers for non-registered visitors.
The cookie lets us establish a unique User ID which is reported back to you in your codified report.
How might it be helpful?
When you choose 'Anyone' as your participation mode in surveys, participants can make multiple submissions. There is nothing stopping them from it, other than you choosing 'Registered Participants Only' as the participation mode.
Of course, in this case the risk is that people might try to stag the results by repeatedly making the same or similar submissions.
By looking at the user ID, you might be able to see if there are participants who are making multiple submission and you can, potentially, remove those from your Excel reports.
Is this foolproof?
No it is not foolproof, actually it is a long way from it. But is the best we can offer if you do not want to ask people to register first.
'Registered Participants Only' is the only way to ensure that people can not make multiple submissions.
Why is it not foolproof?
Cookies are browser based, that means participants who visit from different browsers or devices can appear in your report multiple times with different user IDs.
Visitors can also delete their cookies and some devices might even do this automatically.
Finally, people can share computers and machines, e.g. in a library or workplace. While most of shared devices would automatically delete cookies when people log out from their local accounts, there are plenty of scenarios you can think of in which people share the same device and browser and therefore also cookies, e.g. in a family or many small businesses (big business tend to have stricter IT guidelines).
If its not foolproof, why is it even included?
It is a feature we have included based on feedback from you, our clients. To many it seems important to have the option to potentially identify attempts to stack results in anonymous surveys.
While this can be done looking at the actual responses and determining patterns, using the User ID is another little tool that may help with it.
As should be clear from reading the above, caution must be taken when looking at the User ID and drawing conclusions from it.