University of Wisconsin–Madison
Qualtrics logo with survey

How (and when) to delete Qualtrics surveys

The UW-Madison Qualtrics Survey Hosting Service allows the campus community to easily create surveys, collect and store data and produce reports.

Qualtrics also allows survey owners and administrators to manage survey data to different extents.  Survey owners can “soft delete” their data, meaning that under normal circumstances an administrator can recover the data. Only Qualtrics administrators can permanently delete survey data.

Life cycle and records management guidelines

Surveys are university documents and as such are subject to approved records management guidelines.

How long should you retain survey data? 

There’s no simple answer to this question, however the KnowledgeBase document UW-Madison Qualtrics – Records Retention links to example retention schedules for various activities involving surveys. 

Why might you need to delete survey data?

You may need to delete data to comply with a records retention schedule or your research data lifecycle.

To “soft delete” surveys

See the vendor support document Data Deletion Survey Platform for details.

Under normal circumstances, the administrator can recover the data after you have deleted it from your account. Surveys and survey data can only be permanently deleted by a Qualtrics administrator. 

To permanently delete surveys

To permanently delete a survey:

  1. Record the Name and Survey_ID of the survey you want to permanently delete. See Finding Qualtrics IDs if you’re not sure how to find the Survey_ID.
  2. Submit a Request to Permanently Delete your survey(s).
  3. Delete the Survey Project within your Qualtrics account as described in Data Deletion Survey Platform. Administrators can only permanently delete surveys that are already in your account’s Trash.

Note: You must be the owner of the survey in order to delete the survey or request its permanent deletion. 

Preserving your data prior to departing the university

Before departing the University, transfer ownership of your survey data before your Qualtrics account is deactivated, or else your survey will not be accessible to collaborators or respondents. You can also backup your personal survey data. See UW-Madison Qualtrics – Preserving your data.

More information

Learn more about surveys in the Qualtrics KnowledgeBase.