How can I limit surveys to one response?

There are a couple of ways to limit surveys to one response. Both are determined by the collection method and the link settings.

SurveyMonkey determines a "response" to be a response to the survey, no matter the number of questions answered.

  • If a respondent answers 1 or 100 questions in a survey, it is still considered ONE response.
  • partially completed survey is also counted.


Option 1: Web Link Collector

Through this method, the URL can set a limit of allowing only one response per computer by placing a cookie on the individual's browser.

NOTE: Cookies must be enabled. If a respondent's browser is set to dump cookies each time it is closed, then these settings will not work. The cookie will be refreshed and a blank survey will open the next time the link is accessed.

Setting 1: Allow Multiple Responses?

Access the [Change Settings] button to configure the settings:

  • Choose if you want to Allow multiple responses?
  • Select: No, only allow one response per computer.

Setting 2: Allow Responses to be edited?

Configure if you want respondents to be able to edit their responses under the Allow responses to be edited option.

These three options will be active only if you have the link configured to allow ONE response:

What do these settings mean?

No: Respondents can only progress forward. No one can move back to previous pages. The [Previous] button is removed from the bottom of the page when the survey is distributed to your recipients.

Yes: (Option 1) Respondents can edit or go back to a previous page while taking the survey or until it is finished.

  • This gives respondents the option of going back and editing or updating their survey until it is finished.
  • Once the [Done] button is clicked, the respondent will not be able to re-enter.

Yes: (Option 2) Respondents can come back at any time to edit or finish an incomplete survey as long as the same browser is used.


Option 2: Email Invitation Collector

While the Web Link can limit the number of responses per computer, the Email Invitation truly allows only ONE response at all times.

The email message containing the URL is link-related and not cookie-related. This means that the recipient's information is encoded to the link that is sent to him or her. The benefits of this function include the following:

  1. If a respondent starts a survey and needs to exit early, then he/she can access the email message later from a different computer. Many people may start a survey at work and then want to finish it later at home.
  2. No one can submit additional responses. Only one response is allowed at all times with this method. The settings will not allow you to enable more than one response for the link.

If you do need a person to answer more than once, consider the following option: Multiple Responses for Email Invitation Collectors


Tips to Prevent Ballot Stuffing:

There are things you can do to keep participants from "stuffing the ballot."

Include an Introduction:

Include a message at the beginning of the survey that says something like, "Please vote only once (or up to 5 times) per person. Any duplicate entries will be disqualified."

Required Questions:

Include a *required open-ended question-type in your survey. This could be a 'comment' box or a 'create your own code' box. (e.g. Please enter the first three letters of your last name and the 4 digits of your birth month and day in the box for verification purposes.  Example "JOH1205".)

Use the Analysis Tools:

On the Analyze section, download an All Responses Spreadsheet to look at the full set of individual responses, including their submission times and the tracked IP addresses. The top things to look for would be:

  • Duplicate IP addresses
  • More than one response submitted within 30 seconds of each other
  • The exact same response (especially in the open ended responses)