Delete responders – How to clean up Surveys

It’s quite simple: collecting responses is the basic aim of an online survey. The more the better – after all, a broad pool of data is the best basis for reliable evaluations and derived measures. But what if you have to delete returns?

In everyday life, situations also arise in which the returns already received have to be removed.
Usually, these are test data sets from surveys that are about to be launched properly. Or you have surveys in use that are permanently online. According to the GDPR, returns that have reached a certain „age“ and are no longer needed must be removed from the database (principle of data economy, purpose of use).

Delete returns from a specific period

Of course, we have several options for this as well. We start by deleting returns (and dropouts!) from a specific time period. Let’s assume you have created an open survey, already published it and tested the questionnaire. You now want to get rid of these test records and start with a fresh database.

To do this, open the survey and click on the link „View / manage returns“.

On the results tab, use the "View/ manage responses" link

This takes you to the returns management area; in the upper area you can click through the individual questionnaires, while the lower area contains the search and delete functions.

Today we are interested in the deletion dialog, which consists of the „Start time“ and „End time“ specifications as well as the password entry.

First of all, determine the time period in which the returns to be deleted were received. In our example we want to delete all data from the first half of 2021.

Enter a time period in which responders should be deleted

Since the deletion of the data cannot be undone, it is necessary to enter your password. Only then will the action button below the dialog become active.

Delete form needs passwort to continue

If your information is correct, press the „Delete all responses in this period“ button and wait for the following dialog:

Dialog showing the confirmation needed to delete responders

Still confirm here with „Yes“ to actually send your request to the askallo system. Only then will we check your password and start the deletion process. Depending on the amount of data to be deleted, this may take quite a while; do not restart the process under any circumstances. The system will report when it is done – or even before, e.g. if your password was invalid.

Remove individual returns

In addition to the general deletion of returners and dropouts, we can also remove specific data sets from our pool. This makes sense in order to exclude so-called „feeders“ or recognized / reported false answers from the evaluation.

„Speeders“ are returners whose completion time is clearly too short to have given correct answers – they click through the survey only with the aim of obtaining their reward as quickly as possible. This can certainly happen in surveys with a sweepstakes or with a reward.

In our example, we identified such a speeder (29 seconds instead of an average of 4:47 minutes) in the return overview and can now delete it directly:

Using the responses list to identify speeders

If there are still uncertainties, we can still look at the answers in this dataset beforehand by clicking on „View“:

Looking at the tabular view of a single responder in askallo

Below the tabular view are the actions to delete and, if necessary, to download as a PDF file beforehand. With this we can even still save the answers so that they would not be completely lost in case of need.

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