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Limit survey participationLimiting number of participations in surveys

Most surveyors do not want to allow their respondents to take their survey more than one time. One reason for such a need is that their collected data will be less biased, because they will not have opinions of the same person, repeated more than once in the statistics. This also ensures that respondents do not intentionally manipulate or affect the results by answering to the same questionnaire several times. In other cases such as online exams or quizzes, teachers may want to make sure that their students take the test not more than one time.

To satisfy these needs, we have engineered a system that can limit the number of participations in a questionnaire. By default this feature is OFF, so all your surveys are automatically protected against multiple participations.

But in some cases, you may ‘want to’, or you may ‘have to’ disable this feature. In this guide, we will explain how this feature works, and also cast light on both advantages and disadvantages of this limitation.

In this article: Activation • How it works • Pros and cons
 


Activation: Allowing single or multiple participations

In the ‘configure’ step of survey creation, under the ‘Survey settings Settings’ section you find a setting called “Allow multiple participations Feature OFF “.

By default this setting is OFF for all surveys, which means no participant can ‘Submit’ a survey more than one time, from the same web browser.

However, by enabling this setting you can allow them to answer the same questionaire as many times as they want to, from the same web browser.

 


How it works

When this setting is OFF (which multiple participations are not allowed), our system places a small file on the respondent’s hard drive that is allocated to their web browser. This type of file is called “Web Cookie”. Cookies are used as a standard technology by every major web-based service providers. You can read more about Web Cookies here…

Our cookie files include small bits of information such as the survey ID, and the time that respondent started and finished answering your questionnaire. That is how our system sees if a survey has been completed on that specific web browser. So if somebody tries to retake the survey by opening your survey link again, they will be notified that they have already participated in that survey; by seeing your Thank You page. Also, In case you have activated the Public Results Page, they will see it with the Thank You Page.

If you don’t have a Thank You Page, but have activated the Public Results Page, they see only that. And finally, in case none of these are used in your survey, our system shows them a default message, and informs them that.

 


Pros and cons

Even though this feature can help you block multiple participations from the same web-browser, it does not mean that same person cannot take the same survey at all. If participants open your survey link in another web browser, they will be able to take the survey one more time from the new web browser. Because the our old cookie file does not exist in the new web-browser.

Also, if participants empty their browser’s cash, they will be able to retake the same survey. Because emptying the browser cash can also remove all existing cookie files from users hard drive.

However, you do not need to be worried that much; since most people do not have the technical knowledge needed for these “cheats”, so to speak.

Tip:
Additionally, if you get suspected about quality of your collected data, you can always check the IP addresses of each participation, listed in the data sheets you export. Several identical IP addresses in exported data only means two things:

1- Same person have taken the survey over and over again
2- Different individuals who are sharing the same internet connection (for example same Wi-Fi router) have taken the same survey.

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