NORC has meticulously safeguarded our respondents’ confidentiality for 60 years, and we are widely respected for our responsible behavior toward research participants. Protection of respondent confidentiality encompasses three basic issues: the systematic treatment of individual respondents, computer hardware and software features that protect the data collected, and post-processing procedures implemented to minimize the possibility of deductive disclosure.
NORC creatively employs a number of techniques to prevent the disclosure of individual or institutional respondents to surveys. NORC goes beyond standard de-identification procedures for studies where the possibility for disclosure is great. On these studies, NORC often examines multi-dimensional cross-tabs to identify small cells and then collapses/eliminates data to remove these small cells. Furthermore, where the simple suppression of small cells is not sufficient to protect against disclosure, more complex data masking or swapping techniques including those requiring detailed algorithms are employed to guard against discovery of respondent identity.