20+ Differences between Anonymity And Confidentiality (Explained)

The difference between participant anonymity and participant confidentiality is whether or not identifiable information is included in the study report. Both are major ethical factors to think about.

Smile anonymity can be ensured only by not gathering any personally identifiable information, such as names, physical traits, photographs, or videos. If you communicate your findings using aggregate data rather than identifying any specific people, you may protect the privacy of your study’s subjects.

Comparison between Anonymity And Confidentiality

Type of StudyIt is standard protocol and accepted industry practice to protect the anonymity of participants in quantitative research. This is done to avoid bias and ensure accurate results.Protecting the anonymity of people who participate in a study is an accepted and common practice in all types of research, including quantitative and qualitative. [Citation needed] This pertains not only to the participants but also to the participants’ private information.
UsageThe practice of gathering replies from participants while they are using a pseudonym is used in a wide variety of research methods, including but not limited to interviews, the study of public remarks, and online surveys.Confidentiality is maintained throughout the vast majority of questionnaires, interviews, and studies carried out for medical research and interactions with members of the general public. This encompasses both contacts with members of the general public and research in the field of medicine.
ExampleSuppose a person reports information about a crime over the phone or the mail while using a fake name and does not provide their real name or any other identifying information. In that case, that person is said to be anonymous.If someone chooses to reply to the survey, their name and any other information they submit will not be disclosed to any other individuals taking part in the research.
MeaningTo maintain one’s anonymity, it is very necessary to keep one’s real identity hidden from other people and to refrain from making direct connections between the information one provides and one’s identity.It is vital that some information about a person be kept hidden from the general public’s gaze to safeguard the individual’s constitutionally protected right to privacy. This protection requires that certain information about the individual be kept secret.
RelativityEven though they have made a claim, the nameless person’s declaration that they are connected to the information or the data is not backed by any proof. In fact, they haven’t even provided any evidence to back up their claim.It is necessary to compel the individual in question to show evidence that they are related to the information or the data in some manner to preserve the confidentiality of the information or the data.
comparison between anonymity and confidentiality

Major Differences Between Anonymity And Confidentiality

What exactly is Anonymity?

Anonymity in research is either that no identifying information, such as names, addresses, email addresses, etc., is collected or that no connections are formed between participants’ responses and their identities.

Volunteers should not be asked for personally identifying information unless it is strictly essential for the conduct of the study. If personally identifiable information (PII) is to be gathered, anonymity cannot be ensured.

Key Differences: Anonymity

  • At this early stage, no one, not even the researcher, can access the personally identifiable information the participants provided.
  • Even the person conducting the research cannot piece together the identity of those who participated in the study.
  • Quantitative research makes nearly exclusive use of its application.
  • Utilized various online survey formats (but not all), general comment research, and interviews.

What exactly is Confidentiality?

To protect the participants’ privacy and maintain the confidentiality of the data they received, the researchers are the only ones who can identify the specific replies provided by each participant.

Whatever the case may be, the researchers have a responsibility to make every attempt to prevent anybody who is not involved in the study from associating individual individuals with their replies.

Key Differences: Confidentiality

  • Even though the researcher has access to the participant’s personal information, no one outside the scope of the study is aware of the participants’ identities.
  • The researcher is in a position to learn the identity of the people who participated in the study.
  • Used in examinations of qualitative and quantitative research alike.
  • Utilized in various research contexts, such as interviews, surveys, research studies done over the phone, medical research studies, and several other research settings.

Contrast Between Anonymity And Confidentiality


  • Anonymity- If the researchers do not gather any personally identifiable information from the participants, including their names, addresses, phone numbers, identification numbers, email addresses, photographs, or any other information, then the participants’ anonymity will be preserved.

    Pictures are an example of another kind of information that might be individually identifiable.
  • Confidentiality- On the other hand, to preserve the confidentiality of the findings, it is imperative that the information that was gathered be shielded from the eyes of the general public and stored in a manner that allows only the investigators and researchers who were involved in the study to have access to it.

    When we talk about how important it is to protect people’s privacy, we explicitly have this situation in mind as an illustration because of how important it is.


  • Anonymity- None of the links present themselves in a straightforward manner at any point. Whether or whether someone chooses to reveal their true identity is totally up to them.

    The person is ultimately responsible for making the decision for himself. As a direct result, no legal policies are in place. [Cause and effect] Currently, the details are not accessible to the general public. Therefore, they cannot be investigated by anybody.
features of anonymity
  • Confidentiality- The links are not hard to understand, and those with the most influence know how they work. Every single specialist is expected to keep their job completely under wraps at all times.

    The activity is carried out in line with the relevant legal process and is founded on previously made agreements. It is absolutely forbidden for those who are not allowed to access the data in any way, shape, or form.
features of confidentiality

People involved:

  • Anonymity- The condition known as “anonymity” refers to the situation in which the researchers do not gather any information that may be used to identify the study participants individually.

    This may contain the participants’ names, addresses, phone numbers, identification numbers, email addresses, photos, or other personal information. However, this is not restricted to just those things.
  • Confidentiality- The information that was acquired from the participants is kept secret when confidentiality is maintained, and the only persons who have access to it are the researcher and the investigators who conducted the study.

    The information is not made available to the general public nor presented in a way that would enable the respondents to be identified based on it. Neither of these things is allowed to happen.


  • Anonymity- Studies using general comments, interviews, and internet surveys are all examples of research and polling methods that anonymize respondents (although not all online surveys fall into this category).

    Most of these kinds of research use a quantitative approach to their findings. Because of this, an extra distinction between anonymity and confidentiality must be considered. Both of these concepts are important, but they are not interchangeable.
  • Confidentiality- The phrase “confidential techniques of data collecting” may be used to refer to a wide variety of distinct types of research and surveys.

    Some examples of these types of research and surveys include interviews, questionnaires, research studies conducted over the phone, medical research studies, and other types of research and surveys. Both qualitative and quantitative forms of research articles, which have been provided, are discussed in this section.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Exactly how are you going to keep this a secret?

Answer. Maintaining secrecy daily requires ensuring that critical talks are never made in public and are instead confined to private settings.

Keeping track of just the essential and relevant information while accessing it. Changing log-ins and passwords as needed and maintaining up-to-date security protocols and software for information technology systems.

Q2. When may you violate confidentiality?

Answer. Confidentiality may be broken when a patient provides their agreement to the disclosure of their medical information, when it is mandated by law, or when it is in the best interest of the patient or the public.

When there is an obligation to disclose personal information by law or when it is in the public interest, patient permission to share personal information is not required.

Q3. What are the repercussions of a breach of confidentiality?

Answer. As an employee, the repercussions of violating confidentiality agreements might lead to the termination of your job. 

In more severe circumstances, they may even have to defend themselves in a civil lawsuit if a third party affected by the breach chooses to bring charges due to the consequences they faced as a result of the breach.

Q4. Why is it so important to maintain one’s anonymity?

Answer. It allows them to express themselves and act without accepting responsibility for their actions.

People can let their ids and the ugly parts of themselves that they normally keep hidden behind polite masks while they are anonymous. Removing people’s ability to remain anonymous would make many people nicer, but it might also stifle a lot of helpful speech.

Q5. The right to anonymity refers to what exactly.

It is a vital component of our right to free expression that we have the right to be anonymous, and this right applies exactly the same in the digital world as it does in the physical world.

In the words of the American government: In the case of McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission, the Supreme Court said that “anonymity is a shield against the tyranny of the majority.

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