Friday, June 03, 2011

Using Mechanical Turk to Gather Psychological Data

Buhrmester, Kwang and (the ubiquitous) Sam Gosling published a paper about this recently, entitled "Amazon's Mechanical Turk: A New Source of Inexpensive, Yet High-Quality, Data?" Here's a bit of the abstract":
Findings indicate that (a) MTurk participants are slightly more demographically diverse than are standard Internet samples and are significantly more diverse than typical American college samples; (b) participation is affected by compensation rate and task length, but participants can still be recruited rapidly and inexpensively; (c) realistic compensation rates do not affect data quality; and (d) the data obtained are at least as reliable as those obtained via traditional methods. Overall, MTurk can be used to obtain high-quality data inexpensively and rapidly.
As a social psychologist, I'm particularly impressed by (a) because social psychology is one area where it's really troublesome to generalize the findings you get with college students.


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