The Real cost of Using SurveyMonkey for Online Experiments

Experiment Design

SurveyMonkey is a popular tool for running online experiments. However, as cost is a key determinant when designing and running studies remotely, it's important to understand and anticipate these costs.

SurveyMonkey's Pricing Model

One of the most crucial aspects of any online experiment tool is its pricing model. SurveyMonkey operates on tier-based pricing. One can start with the free Basic plan, but to unlock the essential features for a cognitive experiment or behavioral experiment, the Standard, Advantage or Premier plans are necessary. The features include randomization of questions and advanced analytic capabilities, which are vital for psychological research.

Cost of an Experiment with 100 Participants

An example may help illustrate the potential costs. Let’s consider a cognitive task to be answered by 100 participants. If the cognitive tasks are simple, the Standard plan at $99/month should suffice. However, if the tasks involve more complexity, you'll need to resort to the Advantage plan at $33/month and Premier plan at $99/month. Hence, running experiments with 100 participants can cost anywhere from under $100 to over $400 depending on the complexity of your research.

Hidden Costs

The fee does not end with the subscription. Be aware of hidden costs such as extra charges for more than 1000 responses per month, even in the Premier plan. Plus, there is a fee for using the Audience feature to gain access to pre-qualified respondents, if your own respondent pool is limited.

Tips to Reduce Costs

There are several ways to better manage and reduce these costs. One of such tips is to design the experiment in such a way that the number of responses per month is less than 1000. Another tip is to collaborate with other researchers and share a single subscription. Also, keep an eye on the duration of your subscription to avoid unnecessary renewals.

Alternatives to SurveyMonkey

If the cost is a deterrent, there are several other tools for psychological research, such as, which provides a set of tools for designing, creating, and running online behavioral and cognitive experiments using jspsych, a free and open-source software.

Remember, the cost-effectiveness of a tool is as vital as its features, especially when you are working in the realm of online remote studies.

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