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
Date Written: May 1, 2016
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.
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