I'm going to conduct an email-based questionnaire survey, but I would like to avoid sharing my real name/affiliation. In part, I'm curious if sender's name is actually going to affect response rate and include this aspect as a part of my study. Can it be considered unethical not to use my real name?

  • So what will be the control? to see if there is an effect? 50% with your name, 50% without? – Solar Mike Mar 25 '19 at 7:06
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    Ask your ethics committee. – Captain Emacs Mar 25 '19 at 8:58
  • @SolarMike yes, I guess, that sender's name can impact the response rate and possibly the results. I could even go further and try more names to avoid name biased responses. – Evgeny Vostok Mar 25 '19 at 10:12

This is going to depend on your IRB/ethics review. Not revealing your name is probably ok. Hiding your affiliation is going to be harder since the IRB will want to guarantee the participants can contact someone if there is a problem. That said, if it is relevant to the research, the IRB can probably work with you to figure out something that works.

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  • Good point on the IRB. I'll note that outside the US, there are similar ethical review requirements. – Buffy Mar 25 '19 at 12:45
  • usually on the IRB/ethic review applications there's a question (or multiple of them) asking if you will intentionally mislead the participants (for some psychological surveys, attitudes, etc.), and they have appropriate protocols to deal with that. So if you worry that revealing your name would affect the experiment, there's certainly ways to address that. But like StrongBad said, contact the IRB/ethics committee. – PandaPants Mar 25 '19 at 15:24
  • Thank you for replies, I'm postdoc located in Japan and my field is business communication. I will try to work it out through my university, not sure if they are going to like the idea. – Evgeny Vostok Mar 25 '19 at 16:22
  • I'd suggest looking up the members of your university's IRB and trying to identify someone who may have some familiarity with methods involving misleading participants--e.g., social psychologists and political scientists. You could get their feedback before sending a full proposal to the IRB--they may be able to help you tailor it to the culture of your institution's IRB. – Doc Mar 25 '19 at 18:23

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