Telling the Truth in Surveys
Some of the companies and expert blogs identified below have concurred that people more inclined to tell the truth in surveys when they know that the surveys are anonymous.
- Best Companies Group, a leading research firm focusing on identifying and achieving workplace excellence, concurs that anonymous surveys provide more accurate and actionable data. According to the company, those employees who feel that their identity might be revealed are more inclined to provide survey answers that they think will make upper management happy. However, using anonymous surveys, the management can ensure the accuracy of the data they receive.
- According to Zeff, “Anonymous surveys can get honest responses if you have a situation where people could feel uncomfortable telling the truth otherwise.”
- Culture Monkey, on the other hand, claims that “Anonymous employee surveys help employees give their honest opinion which helps management gain accurate insights and turn it into actionable data.”
- Qulatrics, an experience management company, prefers confidential surveys to anonymous employee surveys because research has shown that “employees don’t necessarily see anonymous surveys as being any better than confidential ones when it comes to protecting their data.”
Reasons why people lie on Surveys
- The first reason why people lie on surveys is to boast. Individuals usually want to view themselves favorably, forcing them to lie to look more ideal to other people.
- The second reason is to fit in. Since humans are social creatures, they usually tend to lie in surveys to feel part of a larger group.
- The third reason is to defend themselves. When survey questions are phrased in a way that digs into people's negative characteristics, individuals usually feel as if their only choice is to lie.
- The last reason why people lie on surveys is to be polite. Certain individuals are usually afraid to really say what they are thinking because they do not want to upset whoever is conducting the survey.
- According to Spirit in Business, one way to prevent people from lying on surveys and making them more eager to tell the truth, is by assuring them that their identities will not be compromised.
The research started by identifying research and studies that relate anonymity with an increased inclination to tell the truth on surveys. We were, however, unable to find any current research that provided a relationship between anonymous surveys and an inclination to tell the truth. We were only able to come across a 2014 study that aimed to provide insights into whether greater privacy induces a higher response rate, more survey completeness, and greater disclosure of potentially sensitive information. However, the results of the study yielded mixed effects between privacy and the disclosure of sensitive information.
We also tried to find quantitative data that could easily show whether people are more inclined to tell the truth in surveys when they know they are truly anonymous. Our efforts were in vain after an extensive search of various sources, including scholarly articles and news articles. We could not find any data supporting or refuting that people more inclined to tell the truth in surveys when they know they are truly anonymous. Therefore, the research team decided to identify expert blogs and survey companies that provided insights as to whether people are more inclined to tell the truth in surveys when they know they are truly anonymous. The research strategy provided various insights as to why people are more inclined to tell the truth in surveys when they realize they are truly anonymous. A summary of these companies and experts' thoughts have been provided in the research brief above. Additionally, we have provided four reasons why people lie on surveys as useful information.