Of course you follow all privacy regulations and you make sure you keep all personal data that's being collected in your research safe. You know this, we know this, but do your respondents know this as well? Don't just keep the data safe, let respondents know you are doing this so they know they can trust you. That doesn't just help your relationship to the respondents, it also increases chances of more people responding to your survey. Here are some best practices:
- Inform respondents in a detailed way on how you handle the personal data they give to you. Add a privacy statement to the survey, for example.
- Think about what personal data you truly need in order to gain the insights you want to acquire. If you have no need of splitting your research results between gender, or if you have no interest at all in how older people have different responses on certain questions then young people do, then don't collect this data at all. Simply limit your data to those things you actually need to know.
- If you want to collect a certain type of personal data, but it is not vital to collect it from all respondents, consider to give an option to not answer the question. Having the option to choose what data you want to share is privacy friendly for respondents, it also ensures that people that do not want to give out certain information, still fill out the rest of the questionnaire.
- Set retention periods and follow-up actions like pseudonimization, anonimization or deletion. Let your respondents know for what period of time you will keep their data and what happens with it afterwards.
- If there is personal data you want to collect that goes beyond the standard information like age or city, explain briefly why you need this information.
- Last but not least, be aware of all legal privacy requirements and obligations that apply to you and your project, and communicate to your respondents in what manner you are following these regulations.