Beyond the Turk: An Empirical Comparison of Alternative Platforms for Crowdsourcing Online Behavioral Research

30 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2015 Last revised: 1 Jun 2016

Eyal Peer

Bar-Ilan University - Graduate School of Business Administration

Sonam Samat

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management

Laura Brandimarte

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management

Alessandro Acquisti

Carnegie Mellon University - Heinz College

Date Written: May 1, 2016

Abstract

The success of Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) as an online research platform has come at a price: MTurk exhibits slowing rates of population replenishment, and growing participants’ non-naivety. Recently, a number of alternative platforms have emerged, offering capabilities similar to MTurk while providing access to new and more naïve populations. We examined two such platforms, CrowdFlower (CF) and Prolific Academic (ProA). We found that both platforms’ participants were more naïve and less dishonest compared to MTurk. CF showed the best response rate, but CF participants failed more attention-check questions and did not reproduce known effects replicated on ProA and MTurk. Moreover, ProA participants produced data quality that was higher than CF’s and comparable to MTurk’s. We also found important demographic differences between the platforms. We discuss how researchers can use these findings to better plan online research, and their implications for the study of crowdsourcing research platforms.

Suggested Citation

Peer, Eyal and Samat, Sonam and Brandimarte, Laura and Acquisti, Alessandro, Beyond the Turk: An Empirical Comparison of Alternative Platforms for Crowdsourcing Online Behavioral Research (May 1, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2594183 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2594183

Eyal Pe'er (Contact Author)

Bar-Ilan University - Graduate School of Business Administration ( email )

Ramat Gan
Israel

HOME PAGE: http://www.mba.biu.ac.il/en/peer

Sonam Samat

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

Laura Brandimarte

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

Alessandro Acquisti

Carnegie Mellon University - Heinz College ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
412-268-9853 (Phone)
412-268-5339 (Fax)

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