Qualtrics Frequently Asked Questions

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Can I use Qualtrics for research? 

  • The University of Guelph has a license with Qualtrics. All members of the University of Guelph can use Qualtrics for research purposes. 

Is my Qualtrics data secure? 

  • The Qualtrics servers are protected by Web Application Firewalls and Qualtrics employs an Intrusion Detection System (IDS) to monitor system access for unauthorized uses.  

  • All communications to and from the Qualtrics servers are encrypted using Transport Layer Security (TLS). Data at rest is also encrypted. For additional security, surveys may be password protected.  

How can I protect the privacy and confidentiality of survey participants?  

  • It is your responsibility to ensure anonymity of participants.  

  • The data collected by Qualtrics is determined by the parameters you set up. You have the option to exclude or include identifiable information, such as email addresses and IP addresses. 

  • Survey information is only available to the survey author and those who are granted access by the author. However, U of G staff who support Qualtrics, and Qualtrics support staff are also able to access survey data. Any such access is tracked and logged by the system. 

  • If you are using a list of email addresses (called a "contact list" or "panel" in Qualtrics) to send out your survey, you can anonymize responses in Survey Flow or Survey Options. 

  • If you are sending a link to the survey, you can anonymize responses to scrub identifying details such as IP address. 

How do I control access to my data in Qualtrics? 

  • You determine who you share your account or your survey results with. However, U of G staff who support Qualtrics, and Qualtrics support staff are also able to access survey data. Any such access is tracked and logged by the system. 

Where is my data stored? 

  • For researchers at Canadian institutions, Qualtrics stores their data in Ireland and is not subject to the US Patriot Act.  

  • Once the data is downloaded from Qualtrics, the researcher must identify where it is stored at the University of Guelph. 

How can I give participants access to my survey? 

  • After creating your survey, use the Publish tool to create an anonymous link to the survey which you can distribute to participants. This tool collects IP addresses of participants unless you turn off that setting.   

  • If you have a list of email addresses you want to send your survey to, you can use a spreadsheet of the email addresses to build a contact list to distribute your survey. 

  • You can send email from within the system to distribute your survey to large groups of people.  

How do I handle incentive draws to maintain anonymity and avoid hacking? 

  • Create a separate survey to collect names and contact information of your participants. Link to this survey from your original research survey.  

  • Collect entries to the draw and identify a winner. 

  • You need to manage the distribution of the incentives. The option to automate the distribution of incentives through Qualtrics, called Tango, is not available in Canada.  

  • To prevent hacking you can put a Captcha verification question on the incentive draw survey. Use the HTTP Referrer Verification setting to specify the URL your respondents must come from in order to access your survey. 

  • Submission date and time are recorded with each survey, so it is possible for a researcher to use the submission date and time to connect a response in the research survey to the incentive draw survey. You should acknowledge this in any promises of anonymity and clarify for the respondent how this will be handled. 

How do I prevent users from filling in the survey more than once (ballot box stuffing)? 

  • The Prevent Ballot Box Stuffing option places a cookie in the participant’s browser which prevents a user from filling out the survey multiple times from the same browser. This can be circumvented by a savvy user. 

  • Use Qualtrics Mailer or an Authenticator (which checks the user against your panel of participants) to provide greater security. 

How do I create a printable consent form?  

  • Put the consent information in a multiple choice question and use branch logic or skip logic in the survey flow to determine whether the participant moves on to the survey based on their consent response.  

  • To add a print button to your consent form you will need to add html code to your consent question that creates the print button. 

  • Click in the question box as if you were going to edit your question. 

  • Select HTML View in the upper right corner. 

  • At the bottom of the consent question, add the following code: <br><div style="text-align: right;"> <input type="button" onClick="window.print()" value= "Print"/> </div><br><br>

How do I explain anonymity and confidentiality on my consent form?  

These phrases can help you get started: 

  • Because data collection occurs via the internet, complete confidentiality of the data cannot be guaranteed. 

  • This survey is anonymous, meaning at no time will the researcher use any identifier to associate your identity with the data you provide. 

  • Your identity will remain confidential when you fill in this survey. The research team will not release any information which identifies you when disseminating the final results. 

  • If you use public computers to fill out a survey: erase the history, empty the cache, and close the browser. 

How can participants ensure their own security when filling out a survey? 

  • If using a public computer, complete the survey, then erase the history, empty the cache, and close the browser. 

  • There is a risk from keyloggers – malicious software that can be installed on a computer--to log all keystrokes to a file. There is no complete protection against this. Some computers, such as the library public computers, have software that wipes and reinstalls the operating system on reboot. Some virus scanners will let you know if a keylogger is installed.  

Are Qualtrics surveys Accessible?

  • You are responsible for ensuring your survey complies with applicable accessibility requirements and legislation. Some Qualtrics question types do not meet common accessibility requirements. Check for accessibility before launching your survey. 

How can I learn more about the expectations of research ethics at the University of Guelph?  

  • The University of Guelph requires that ethical clearance be obtained for research involving human participants. Information and applications are available from the Research Ethics Board.  


Contact us.

The library is committed to ensuring that members of our user community with disabilities have equal access to our services and resources and that their dignity and independence is always respected. If you encounter a barrier and/or need an alternate format, please fill out our Library Print and Multimedia Alternate-Format Request Form. Contact us if you’d like to provide feedback: lib.a11y@uoguelph.ca