Strategies for getting around anonymity

We saw in Section 2.1.3 that - from the researcher's point of view -respondent anonymity is often undesirable in survey research because without proper identification we cannot match survey data with other sources of information obtained about the same participants (e.g., course marks or other questionnaires). The other side of the coin, however, is that with certain sensitive questions anonymity may be desirable from the respondents' point of view because they may feel safer this way to provide less self-protective and presumably more accurate answers. Is there a way to 'have the cake and eat it'? That is, can we devise administration procedures that provide the assurance of anonymity and yet produce identifiable data? In the following I will describe two attempts to achieve this objective; one used is my own past research, the other reported in the literature.

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