Understanding MTurk: An Insight into the World of Online Experiments

Illustration of experiment hosting

Running online experiments can be a challenging feat. As a scientific researcher, you have likely grappled with the complexities of designing behavioral and cognitive tasks for your studies. In the current era, many researchers have transitioned to conducting remote studies to reach a more diverse participant pool. MTurk, formally known as Amazon Mechanical Turk, is one such platform that enables this transition.

What is MTurk?

MTurk was created and is maintained by Amazon. Designed as a crowdsourcing marketplace, the platform allows individuals and businesses to coordinate the use of human intelligence to perform tasks that computers are currently unable to do. It has become a key tool in facilitating psychological research online. Researchers are able to run experiments with a diverse range of people, promoting robust and generalizable results.

Main Features of MTurk

The strengths of MTurk stem from its key features. Notably, MTurk allows researchers to:

  • Access a large and diverse participant pool, which is a crucial requirement for running cognitive experiments.
  • Design and host studies relatively quickly and at a low cost.
  • Easily implement cognitive tasks through integrations with other experiment platforms such as jspsych.

Strengths of Using MTurk for Research

As a tool for running experiments, MTurk simplifies the process of gathering study participants and data collection. Here are some of its strengths:

  • Diverse Participant Pool: MTurk incorporates a wide range of participants from various demographics, making it easier for researchers to run experiments that yield generalizable results.
  • Speed and Efficiency: By providing a digital platform, MTurk facilitates rapid data collection. This allows researchers to speed up the research process without compromising the quality of the research.
  • Scalability: MTurk’s vast user base provides the opportunity for researchers to upscale their studies easily, a feature particularly beneficial for conducting large-scale cognitive and behavioral experiments.

In conclusion, MTurk is a powerful resource for researchers to conduct online experiments. While designing studies remotely and navigating through digital platforms can be challenging, tools like MTurk are streamlining the process. By leveraging MTurk, scientific researchers can optimize their study design and data collection process for psychological research, making the difficult task of running online experiments manageable.

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