Evidence-Based Recommendations for Designing Free-Sorting Experiments

48 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2015 Last revised: 4 Aug 2015

Simon J. Blanchard

Georgetown University - Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business

Ishani Banerji

Georgetown University - Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business

Date Written: July 22, 2015

Abstract

The card-sorting task is a very flexible research tool that is widely used across many of the subfields of psychology. Yet this same great flexibility requires researchers to make several (seemingly arbitrary) decisions in their designs, such as fixing a sufficient number of objects to sort, setting task requirements, and creating task instructions for participants. In the present research, we provide a systematic empirical investigation of the consequences of typical researcher design choices as they administer sorting tasks. Specifically, we study the effect of seven sorting task design factors by collecting data from over 1000 online participants assigned to one of 36 sorting tasks as part of a fractional factorial experimental design. Analyses show effects of the various researcher decisions on the probability that participants quit the task, the amount of time spent on the task, the number of piles made, and post-task measures such as satisfaction and depletion. Research design recommendations are provided.

Keywords: free-sorting, card sorting, experimental design, sorting task

JEL Classification: C9, C90, C91

Suggested Citation

Blanchard, Simon J. and Banerji, Ishani, Evidence-Based Recommendations for Designing Free-Sorting Experiments (July 22, 2015). Behavior Research Methods, Forthcoming. ; Georgetown McDonough School of Business Research Paper No. 2566412. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2566412 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2566412

Simon J. Blanchard (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business ( email )

3700 O Street, NW
Washington, DC 20057
United States

Ishani Banerji

Georgetown University - Robert Emmett McDonough School of Business ( email )

3700 O Street, NW
Washington, DC 20057
United States

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