Anonymity is denned somewhat differently in survey research than in its more general use. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, anonymity is the quality or state of being unknown or unacknowledged. However, in survey research, the concept is more complex and open to interpretation by the various organizations that conduct surveys.

In the form closest to the standard definition, anonymity refers to data collected from respondents who are completely unknown to anyone associated with the survey. That is, only the respondent knows that he or she participated in the survey, and the survey researcher can not identify the participants. More often, anonymity refers to data collected in surveys in which the respondents are de-identified and all possible identifying characteristics are separated from the publicly available data. ...

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