Collection of Data
All data across all forms of data collection instruments are to be either anonymous or confidential.
- Data are anonymous when no one is aware of who submitted the data. For example, a paper & pencil survey with no name or other identifying information. Anonymous data, by their very nature, present few issues around confidentiality.
- Data are confidential when the submitter of the data can be identified. (For example, this is the case with many – not all - web based surveys or surveys where tracking numbers are assigned to monitor returns for follow-up with non-respondents). With confidential data, OPIR keeps the identity of respondents or participants to itself and will not release that identity to any other office or individual.
OPIR keeps all data in secure files. When preparing reports, OPIR is meticulous in assuring that identity cannot be determined.
Storage of Data
OPIR keeps all data in secure files and the original paper survey instruments are stored for a limited period of time in a locked/secured area. Data and databases are accessible only to the data base administrator and the analyst/report writer.
Reporting of Data
When preparing reports, OPIR is meticulous in assuring that the identity of a respondent cannot be determined.
- For all open-ended questions, all hand written narrative comments are typed by OPIR, closely read and edited as necessary to eliminate any possible identifying language. Comments are then categorized and provided verbatim in a confidential report to key decision-makers. Summary reports are also provided as appropriate with selected quotes but no identification of the respondent.
- Numerical data are grouped to prevent identification of an individual. For example, if there are 10 or fewer sophomores in a data set, those data will be merged with other classes. Furthermore, where there are multiple questions that ask demographic or descriptive data about respondents, these data will be analyzed and summarized to ensure that no individual or small groups of individuals can be identified.