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PLoS One. 2015 Apr 14;10(4):e0121595. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0121595. eCollection 2015.

Comparing the similarity of responses received from studies in Amazon's Mechanical Turk to studies conducted online and with direct recruitment.

Author information

1
University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, 8140 Christchurch, New Zealand.
2
CSIRO Computational Informatics Castray Esplanade, Hobart 7000, Tasmania, Australia.
3
Industrial Research Institute for Automation and Measurements (PIAP) Al. Jerozolimskie 202, 02-486 Warsaw, Poland.

Abstract

Computer and internet based questionnaires have become a standard tool in Human-Computer Interaction research and other related fields, such as psychology and sociology. Amazon's Mechanical Turk (AMT) service is a new method of recruiting participants and conducting certain types of experiments. This study compares whether participants recruited through AMT give different responses than participants recruited through an online forum or recruited directly on a university campus. Moreover, we compare whether a study conducted within AMT results in different responses compared to a study for which participants are recruited through AMT but which is conducted using an external online questionnaire service. The results of this study show that there is a statistical difference between results obtained from participants recruited through AMT compared to the results from the participant recruited on campus or through online forums. We do, however, argue that this difference is so small that it has no practical consequence. There was no significant difference between running the study within AMT compared to running it with an online questionnaire service. There was no significant difference between results obtained directly from within AMT compared to results obtained in the campus and online forum condition. This may suggest that AMT is a viable and economical option for recruiting participants and for conducting studies as setting up and running a study with AMT generally requires less effort and time compared to other frequently used methods. We discuss our findings as well as limitations of using AMT for empirical studies.

PMID:
25876027
PMCID:
PMC4397064
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0121595
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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