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Effective Mechanical Turk: The TurkPrime Blog

How to run successful experiments and get the most out of Amazon's Mechanical Turk

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

New Feature! Restarts now available when Hyperbatching

Now available "Restart HIT"-- using HyperBatch!

The TurkPrime "Restart" feature (which Restarts HITs that have become sluggish; see our blog post on Restarts to see all the benefits of this feature)
can now be used in conjunction with HyperBatch. This was a highly requested feature from our users and we are happy to announce that it is now LIVE. The only difference between using the restart feature with HyperBatch and using the restart feature without HyperBatch is that you will only be able to restart the HIT once per day with HyperBatch. This helps ensure that our system will not be over-burdened. 

However, as always, when workers view HITs, they now find your HIT at the top of the MTurk HIT Dashboard. When restarted, HITs that have aged and have become hard to see by MTurk Workers will have the visibility of a brand new HIT - because TurkPrime has created a new HIT and associated it with the same specifications as your original HIT!

Additionally, when using Restart, Workers who have completed your original HIT are automatically excluded from taking the newly created HIT and are unable to accept the HIT because TurkPrime has created a Qualification Type that excludes them! 

There is nothing that a Requester needs to set up to enable the Restart feature. It appears in the TurkPrime Dashboard as soon as your HIT goes Live.

For more on the benefits of using Hyperbatch, check out our blog post

Friday, December 2, 2016

Verified US Region Targeting

Verified US State and Region Targeting

Problem: Many researchers wish to target participants from specific states or US regions of the United States like from the Northeast or the West. The issue that they often encounter is that using the MTurk Geographic Qualification specifying the US state is often not adequate to ensure that the participants reside in the specified state. 

The MTurk state may be incorrect since workers move since setting up their MTurk account and it has been reported that MTurk uses the worker bank location as the worker's state which may have never been the state of the worker's residency. TurkPrime internal quality tests have shown that up to 25% of the worker reported states using the  MTurk Geographic Qualification are inconsistent with the worker's state as reported by their IP address.

Solution: The TurkPrime Pro feature to verify location by Ip address and the US Region selector will only qualify workers whose IP address has been verified as being located in the study's required state or US region. All other workers will be disqualified from taking the study.

In addition, to run regionally targeted studies, TurkPrime now includes a region selector which automatically includes IP state verification to endure quality results.
















Dynamic Secret Completion Codes for SurveyMonkey

TurkPrime Supports Dynamic Completion Code for SurveyMonkey

Users of Qualtrics and Google Forms have long enjoyed the ability to integrate dynamic secret codes for each participant in their TurkPrime study. Dynamic codes ensure that each MTurk worker participating in your study receives a unique code completely eliminating the possibility that workers shrae secret codes.  In addition, with auto-approval enabled, those workers are automatically approved without any need for reserarchers to manually check the worker supplied secret codes and approve workers.

Now, TurkPrime users who host their studies on SurveyMonkey can also use dynamic completion codes as follows:
  1. Check off "Dynamic Completion Code For Qualtrics" when you design your TurkPrime study
  2. Redirect participants at the end of your SurveyMonkey study to https://www.turkprime.com/Router/DynamicCode
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Friday, September 9, 2016

How to Create a Universal Exclude Worker List

Problem: 

Requesters may observe that some workers, even those with high Approval ratings, may not perform to their expectations on a study. Sometimes this may result in rejecting their work which affects the Worker approval rating. But, often the work is not acceptable for research but is not worthy of rejection, or, it may simply be the policy of the research lab to approve all assignments for IRB or some ethical standard they may follow. 

At this point the researcher may wish to exclude these workers from all future studies. MTurk has an option to Block a Worker (available through the API) but our experience has been that this solution is somewhat draconian and extreme: the effect of a Worker Block can trigger the suspension of the Worker's MTurk account. 

(Source: When I was a newbie Requester in 2012 I blocked some workers who gave me inconsistent and poor responses . I learned the hard way by having my Turkopticon rating suffer and the MTurk Worker discussion groups spread the bad word. I responded to the Worker complaints and Unblocked them to undo the damage to their reputation -- and mine!)

Solution:

Create a Universal Exclude List using the TurkPrime Worker Group feature. This exclude list simply excludes all specified workers in this group from taking a study with this Group Requirement. When you design your studies, just add this exclude group to your Worker Requirements and none of the workers in this exclude group will be qualified to take your study. 

This will achieve your goal of blocking undesired Workers without tarnishing their reputation.


Reusable Include and Exclude Groups

Problem: You are running a longitudinal study and have identified 1000 workers who you want to allow to take your second phase studies. How do you easily group those workers for easy access. 

Or you want to exclude certain workers from taking a number of your studies and wish to group them for easy exclusion in future studies. How can you do that?

Solution: Use the TurkPrime Worker Groups feature available in the Manage Workers menu. This allows you to create reusable worker groups for either inclusion or inclusion in studies. You simply select whether this group is an include or exclude group, give it a clear name and specify the workers in the group. 

Workers will not know why they were targeted for inclusion or exclusion since the MTurk Qualification name used is a random sequence of characters. The TurkPrime Group Name will not be visible to Workers. This is important so that you can run blind studies (i.e. the workers who are specified for inclusion will know they were targeted because they are exhibiting a certain personality, for example)

When you design your study, and specify Worker requirements, add this group to the worker requirements and all workers in that group will be wither included or excluded, as needed.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

MTurk Panels on Your Own Requester Account

Studies with Panels  for just $0.15 - 0.75 / complete

Now you can run Mechanical Turk studies using your own Requester account and specify over two dozen demographic traits!.  The traits include gender, ethnicity, age, marital status and sexual orientation. But it does not stop there! The available options also include occupation, medical and health history, cell phone use and much more.


The cost ranges from $0.15 - $0.75 per completed assignment. For example, if you run a study with a panel of 100 White Males 40 and under with a cost of $0.42 / complete the TurkPrime Panel Fee is 0.42 * 100 = $42.00. The panel fee is determined by the incidence rate of your particular panel so that harder to reach demographics cost more...but are capped at a maximum of $0.75 per complete.

In addition, TurkPrime displays the feasibility of the study to run to completion. This is not a guarantee that the workers will take your study. since the MTurk workers, ultimately, decide whether they will accept and complete your study based on many factors including worker payment, requester rating on TurkOpticon and clarity of your study, among others. 

If you want to be certain your study will run to completion we recommend using the TurkPrime Lab Services of either Prime Panels or MTurk Panels where TurkPrime manages all user interaction, reaches out to workers to complete your study and guarantees the study will run to completion.

Studies with MTurk Panels will display the panel traits in the study dashboard along with a tag marking it as a panel study, as shown below.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Survey Groups Ensure Unique Workers Across Multiple Concurrent Studies

Problem: Ever want to run multiple simultaneous studies and needed to ensure that each worker only took a single study? There is no simple way to block workers who completed one study from accepting anopther study run at the same time....until now. 

(The TurkPrime exclude feature will exclude workers who completed one study from taking another subsequent study but not if both studies are run at the same time.)

Solution: The TurkPrime Survey Group (arriving August 25, 2016)  feature allows a user to assign multiple studies to a survey group. Then, any worker who accepts any study in that group will be disqualified from accepting any other study ion that group. Your studies will be guaranteed to have a mutually exclusive group of respondents.


The Survey Group option is also a broader exclusion than the standard Exclude Worker option: Survey Group excludes workers who even only accepted one study from taking the other studies in the group, while the standard Exclude Worker option only excludes workers who completed the study but will not exclude workers who accepted but did not complete the first study from taking the second study.