Survey Confidentiality

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OIE) will inform survey respondents of the level of confidentiality associated with a survey instrument. For the most part, survey responses are confidential and only included in the reporting of aggregate data.

Confidential means that OIE may have access to survey respondents depending on the survey instrument utilized, but this information is not available to anyone outside of the office. Survey results and comments are not associated with a respondent’s name or ID for any kind of reporting. Open-ended comments are shared verbatim; identifying information may be scrubbed from a comment depending on the survey instrument

The confidentiality of data collected in surveys is essential as it may improve respondent cooperation and participation. Knowing responses are confidential can lead to more honest and complete feedback.


Anonymous surveys- If a survey tool is anonymous, there is no way for OIE to associate results with a respondent. A SurveyMonkey web link, for example, may be an anonymous survey. Without a dedicated survey link per participant, there is no way to trace respondents. Demographic questions asked on an anonymous survey to garner additional insight about the data and will never be used to report data on a single respondent.

Specific questions on a confidential survey- OIE often asks for updated contact information on alumni surveys. This information is reported to departments separately from other survey responses. Sharing updated contact information is optional. Any survey containing identified survey responses will be noted, and respondents can opt-out of sharing.

Surveys with no promise of confidentiality- If there is no statement of confidentiality, in either the survey invitation or survey instrument itself, respondent information may be associated with survey responses. These cases are sporadic.

Allegations of or reference to discrimination or harassment- Violations of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1965- UTMB, in compliance with applicable federal laws and regulations, strives to maintain an environment free from discrimination against individuals based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information or veteran status. If a member of OIE reads survey comments that reference incidents of harassment, discrimination, or unequal treatment, the comment must be reported to Internal Investigations. Confidentiality is important; some individuals who submit survey comments related to harassment and discrimination may want their identity to remain anonymous or confidential. Issues of confidentiality must be balanced against the need to investigate and take appropriate action.

Comments indicating respondent may pose a danger to self or others- If threats of harm to self or others are made in survey comments, such comments will be passed on to other individuals within UTMB to take appropriate action.

Please contact OIE regarding survey confidentiality questions.