Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Want to do social research without getting off your couch?

Amazon Mechanical Turk is the answer. If you're unfamiliar with Mechanical Turk (or MTurk for short), it's a web-based survey tool that allows you get participants for pennies. which means if you want to do a survey on whether the population at large really likes chocolate or vanilla ice cream more you can get a sample large enough to figure this out, it will end up costing you about as much as a can of Coke. As long as your survey (or psychological experiment) can be administered online, you can run your experiment on MTurk, so you can do implicit association tests too. Because of small earnings, it's not surprising that many Mechanical Turk workers are from India and this (somewhat dated) blog post looks at the demographics of the people who actually take surveys on MTurk. It's interesting to see the contrasts and similarities between the Indian turkers and the American ones.


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