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Even more reasons for me to be frustrated with rubbish questionnaires

March 25, 2019

I’m so obsessed with GDPR.  Well, these days I’m just complying and that’s all delightful but I do find myself in meetings saying the self-satisfied words “I’ve actually read the GDPR” to try and give my recommendations some weight.

Now I’ve written before about how frustrating it is that everyone and his dog thinks they can write a questionnaire but that they don’t typically know what makes a good one.  Well it turns out that these people also don’t know that GDPR applies if you are collecting personal data using a survey.

Data protection has always applied to survey data, of course, but the all-new GDPR has just put this front of mind for me.

If you are going to collect a name/email address/postcode/etc – even if it is just part of a quick survey about curtains – well THERE’S THINGS YOU HAVE TO TELL THE PERSON GIVING YOU THAT INFO.  Like legally.

I saw a national charity doing this the other day. A charity that means something to me through my own personal circumstances.  They asked for my name and email address at the start of the survey, and I was required to fill that in or I couldn’t proceed, and they didn’t give me any blah at any point about processing or storage or rights and all that.  I didn’t know whether to politely let the charity know that they were not GDPR compliant, maybe offer to share my template docs with them.  I wanted to be helpful but I didn’t want to seem rude or smug.  So I filled in the questionnaire and I ignored the whole thing.  And then I waited a week.  And then I wrote this and changed my mind so I emailed them.

Was I right to get in touch?

Does it matter?

I mean it matters to me, when I’ve put all that time into getting it right and helping my charity clients get it right.  And it always winds me up seeing poor quality questionnaires that might put people off research in general.  And you know, that law.

Or… you do you?

Complicated. Frustrating.

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