Matching anonymous pre-posttests using subject-generated information

Eval Rev. 1996 Dec;20(6):724-36. doi: 10.1177/0193841X9602000604.


Sensitive research issues call for anonymous questionnaires. This makes accurately matching pretests with posttests difficult or impossible. Various subject-generated coding schemes have been developed, but their accuracy has been unknown. This anonymous study, with 745 students, used subject-generated coding to match pretests with posttests. The matching was verified for accuracy with the use of a collateral, anonymous, sticker identification system. The coding system was able to accurately match 75.2% of all the pretest-posttest pairs. An additional 22.1% of the pairs were left unmatched and only 2.7% were matched incorrectly. Subject-generated coding systems can be very effective where confidentiality is important to protect.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Confidentiality*
  • Curriculum
  • Educational Measurement
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Program Evaluation
  • Research Design
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*