Qualtrics is a worldwide leading survey tool, in terms of functionalities, security and privacy measures and the only centrally supported survey tool at UM. Other tools might be less safe, and use of these tools is not compliant with the privacy laws (GDPR), as UM does not have a data processing agreement with the companies running those services.

Users can create over 100 different question types, use interactive questions to increase response rates or use embedded video, audio clips or graphics in seconds. View all features at Qualtrics.com

1. Get started with Qualtrics

To create an account, login with your UM credentials and an account will be automatically generated.
Please don’t make an account on Qualtrics.com!

When using Qualtrics, you will probably collect personal data. Check the information on personal data and GDPR before you use Qualtrics.

At Maastricht University we have two licenses. One for Academic and one for NON-Academic purposes. Please login to the correct environment. Find below the definition of each environment.

The Academic environment

The Academic environment within the context of Qualtrics at Maastricht University refers to the digital Qualtrics space primarily utilised for academic research and academic activities. It serves as a platform dedicated to the creation, distribution, and analysis of surveys directly related to academic research projects, teaching assignments, and scholarly pursuits. This environment encompasses areas such as research studies, thesis research, course assignments, academic surveys, and data collection for scholarly publications. It is characterised by its focus on research.

The Non-Academic environment

The Qualtrics non-academic environment refers to the digital Qualtrics space, specifically utilised for purposes other than academic research or academic activities. In the context of Qualtrics usage at Maastricht University, this environment is dedicated to the creation, distribution, and analysis of surveys that are not directly related to academic research or teaching assignments. It typically encompasses areas such as administrative functions (e.g.: course evaluation etc.), marketing, event feedback, alumni relations, human resources, and internal process improvements. This environment is characterised by its focus on supporting the operational, strategic, and engagement goals of the university, rather than its educational or scholarly objectives.

Note: The Non-Academic environment is not available for students.

2. Responsible research: GDPR, personal data and sample size

When using Qualtrics, you will probably collect personal data. Personal data means any information relating to an identified or identifiable individual (‘data subject’). An identifiable individual is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that individual.

Qualtrics offers the possibility to work GDPR-compliant.

Researchers, students and staff who collect personal data are obliged to protect the privacy of the survey respondents by thinking carefully about the survey design. Compliance to the GDPR is mandatory.

Maastricht University has concluded a data processing agreement with Qualtrics about processing low-, middle- and high-risk class personal data .
It is possible to process special categories (high-risk) of personal data. Contact your supervisor (students) or information manager (staff) to perform a risk analysis and possibly a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) before the start of your project. Also check out the measures you can take to process the data with minimal risk.

Sensitive personal data are data revealing:

  • Racial or ethnic origin
  • Political opinions
  • Religious or philosophical beliefs
  • Membership of trade unions
  • Genetic data
  • Biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person
  • Physical or mental health condition
  • Sexual life or orientation
  • Convictions, proceedings and criminal acts
  • National Identification Number (BSN in the Netherlands)


2.1 Pseudonymisation and anonymisation

To protect the privacy of survey respondents, it is mandatory to pseudonymise or anonymise (special categories of) personal data.


In the GDPR, pseudonymisation is defined as “the processing of personal data in such a way that the data can no longer be attributed to a specific data subject without the use of additional information.” When pseudonymising a dataset, it is important to store the dataset and the additional information separately. Identifying information is stored outside Qualtrics, reducing the privacy risk for data subjects. This procedure is especially recommended for research with special categories of personal data. Contact your local division administrator to assist you with pseudonimysing your data processing in Qualtrics.

Pseudonymisation is not the same as anonymisation. In contrast with anonymised data, pseudonymised data can still be linked to the identifiable data. So re-identification remains possible. Pseudonymised data are categorised as personal data and compliance with the GDPR is required.

Pseudonymisation is needed when respondent and response should still be coupled, e.g. for further research.


Anonymised data can no longer be identified. Any information that may result in the identification of a data subject must be irreversibly removed from the dataset. Irreversibly anonymised data is not categorised as personal data and compliance with the GDPR is no longer required.

Find information about anonymising responses and about the anonymous link in Qualtrics.

Be careful: if your survey contains personal questions that can lead to identifiable responses, the dataset is NOT anonymised (even if you made use of the anonymous link and anonymised the response).

Note that true anonymization is often difficult to achieve. Using advanced techniques, additional datasets you don’t know exist or very large computing power (in the future), it may be possible to link the data you collected to people.

Be aware that anonymisation of responses cannot be undone.

2.2 Sample size calculation

When starting a survey it is important to carefully consider the number of participants you will include.
You should not include more participants than is required to get a representative of the target population.

Qualtrics offers an online sample size calculator which helps you determine your ideal survey sample size.

2.3 Research with sensitive personal data, in a single measurement

When you collect special categories of personal data, you can take the following measures to process the data with minimal risk:

  • Approach your respondents via an anonymous link 
  • Questions and documents in your survey do not include any (combination of) data which could identify your participants. E.g., if you ask for sexual preference, you cannot ask for the participant’s email address as well.

Download and delete all data of the study immediately from Qualtrics when you have finished the survey.

2.4 Research with special categories of personal data, using multiple measurements

When you gather special categories of personal data in your surveys and also require participant contact details to send notifications for subsequent measurements, you’ll need to use pseudonymisation to process the data with minimal risk. This means that in Qualtrics only a unique identifier for a participant is stored, but the key to the actual contact details is stored separately.

Please contact your local division administrator. They can assist you with pseudonymising your data processing to protect the privacy of your participants in Qualtrics. Also, questions and documents in your survey should not include any (combination of) data which could identify your participants. E.g., if you ask for sexual preference, you cannot ask for the participant’s email address as well.

Download your data and delete the data from Qualtrics when you have finished the survey.

2.5 File upload

In Qualtrics, you have also the option to upload files. The file upload question type allows respondents to upload a file along with their survey response. Using this functionality, you can collect data that may not be available otherwise. Be aware that you are not allowed to upload sensitive personal data if (a combination of) this data could identify your participants.

For more information, contact your local division administrator.

Please note that when uploading a file, the file may contain personal data that you may not be aware of. Image files, for example, may contain personal data even if the image itself does not show a person. Creation date, location where the image was taken, etc. are often stored as metadata for individual images and can lead to identification of the creators of the images. So always consider carefully whether your dataset is truly anonymous.

2.6 Further information

Use of Qualtrics Research Suite should be in accordance with the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) of Maastricht University.

Find more information and legal obligations on processing (special categories of) personal data on the RDM Policies page..

3. Export and deletion of survey data

Do not use Qualtrics to store your research data. Export and remove data from Qualtrics to secure storage, the moment research is completed.
We advise you to store your research data in DataverseNL. For more information, see the DataverseNL page.

Specifically, what you need to do:

  1. Log in at Qualtrics
  2. Export your completed surveys
    Go to Survey → Tools → Export → Export Survey. This will download a QSF file with the empty survey, so you can re-use it later in the new research. This file does not contain any research data from respondents.
  3. Export research data from respondents
    Go to Data & Analysis → Export & Import → Export data, and choose the format you would like to store the data in (e.g. SPSS format)
    More info about data export at Qualtrics.com
  4. Verify (in e.g. SPSS) that your data has indeed been successfully stored
  5. Save the QSF file from (2) and your data file from (3) in UM servers for research data
  6. Remove the survey from Qualtrics
    In the main menu at the right-hand side after the project name at Actions → Delete Project
    More information about deleting your data at Qualtrics.com
  7. Repeat step 2 through 6 for all finished surveys.

If you have any questions or issues, please contact your local administrator.


4. Account transfer

To transfer your UM Qualtrics account to another faculty or service center, contact the University Library via the contact form and indicate to which division you want us to transfer your account.

Please remove all survey data that should not be transferred to the new division from Qualtrics [see: 5: Export and deletion of survey data] to a secure storage location before requesting the transfer of your account.


5. Survey transfer

Transferring Surveys Between Qualtrics Environments Academic and Non-Academic.

Need to move a survey you created in one Qualtrics environment to another? We’ve got you covered! Follow the steps outlined in this guide to successfully migrate your survey: Import & export Survey

Migrating survey data (responses) is a separate process.
Export data (responses) Export Data Qualtrics documentation

Import data (responses) Import Data Qualtrics documentation



6. Support

When you have a specific question, first check the Qualtrics support site. The terminology on the Qualtrics website sometimes refers to market research. However, this does not mean that the tool is not suitable for online surveys and other types of research.
If you did not find the answer there, then contact Customer Success Hub (qualtrics.com).


Log in to Your Customer Success Hub with SSO

Your Customer Success Hub is where you go to request help from the Qualtrics Support team and track the history of your support requests (tickets).

Sign in with SSO link to login. Enter your organization ID: maastrichtuniversity and click Continue.

Now you are logged in the Customer Success Hub.

Click Contact Support on the top right.

Click on Survey Platform & XM Directory.

Click on E-mail. Now you can describe the problem and within 24 hours Qualtrics Support will react.

Still have a question? Contact your local administrator of your UM department.

supportform voor op de Qualtrics pagina

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