The Productive Scholar: Using Mechanical Turk and Qualtrics to Crowdsource Tasks and Surveys

Topic: Using Mechanical Turk and Qualtrics to Crowdsource Tasks and Surveys
Speaker: Alfredo García

Time: Thursday, March 6, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pmMech-Turk-Qual_PS3 copy
Location: HRC Classroom, 012 East Pyne, Lower Level

The idea of “crowdsourcing” has increasingly been used in a variety of settings. With the help of social media, we can now crowdsource funds, software coding, information, and a variety of other tasks. But how can a scholar put crowdsourcing to use in his/her own work? This talk will focus on using Qualtrics, an online survey-generating software platform, and Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT), a popular crowdsourcing website, to field surveys and collect hard-to-get information. Of particular interest in this session will be the use of AMT for running experimental survey designs. (Free Qualtrics accounts arevavailable for Princeton University members through the Princeton Survey Research Center.)

Using his own religion-based research on in-group attitudes towards out-group members, Sociology doctoral candidate Alfredo (Alf) García provided a quite engaging case study of the possible uses, and limitations, of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk for effectively crowdsourcing survey research that previously would have taken considerably more time and expense than possible outside of a fully-funded study. Alf touched on the limitations of using the self-selected Mechanical Turk worker demographic, how to use Qualtrics design features to mitigate the perils of survey bots, and the importance going through the IRB review process for the future viability of your research. Though there was not sufficient time to review the service at length, Alf also provided an brief overview of the many design options available through Qualtrics online survey platform access which is free for members of the Princeton University community through the Princeton Survey Research Center.

Alfredo (Alf) Garcia is a third-year doctoral student in the sociology department. His research interests lie in the sociology of religion, and his current work covers two main fields: the study of the nonreligious in the United States and the intersection of religion, money, and financial decision-making.

A co-presentation with the Digital Humanities Initiative (DHI).