A Guide to Using MTurk to Distribute a Survey or Experimental Instrument
32 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2015 Last revised: 30 Nov 2015
Date Written: October 2015
Amazon.com’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is becoming a major outlet for social science research. Despite an increasing number of researchers using MTurk, this system was not designed for carrying out behavioral research. Thus, researchers using MTurk must overcome the inherent limitations of the system when using it for research purposes. This paper provides a roadmap for researchers wanting to use MTurk for distributing surveys or experiments, in light of its limitations as a research tool. Specifically, this paper provides the requisite knowledge to setup MTurk as a distribution portal, identifies pitfalls associated with using MTurk for research, as well as discusses more advanced techniques such as accessing target populations with MTurk’s general population. Further, this paper discusses external considerations that may require researchers to alter their surveys or experiments to facilitate use with MTurk.
Keywords: Amazon Mechanical Turk, MTurk; surveys, experiments, social science research, validation procedures, HTML, JAVA, requester, worker, HIT
JEL Classification: C91, C99, M41, M49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation