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**Overview**

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**The
simple formula**

We describe a general formula for
predicting the time it takes Workers to complete survey studies on MTurk. The average
Worker takes 10.3 seconds to answer a single question. This means that a study
with 60 questions should take approximately 10 minutes. At $6 per hour the
appropriate pay rate for a 60 question survey would be $1.

**The
slightly more nuanced approach**

We also show that increasing the pay rate
and decreasing the length of a survey can increase the average time that Workers
spend on each question by 36%. Pay rate and the number of questions in a HIT
both influence how long Workers spend answering questions. Workers spend less
time on each question for longer surveys and for surveys that pay less. Survey
length is also a moderator of the association between pay rate and the time
that Workers spend answering questions.

A more detailed
approach to predicting the length of a survey is depicted in Figure 1, which
takes both survey length and pay rate into consideration when predicting the time
it takes Workers to answer a single question. For longer surveys with 108
questions or above, time per question is closer to 8.3 seconds per question,
and is independent of pay rate. For medium length surveys with 65 questions, time
per survey can range between 9.2 seconds for a pay rate of $1.8 per hour, 10
seconds per question at $3.50 per hour, and 10.6 seconds for a pay rate of over
$5 per hour. Shorter surveys with 28 questions are answered at a rate of 10
seconds per question at $1.80 per hour, 11.5 seconds per question at $3.50 per
hour and over 13.2 seconds for pay rates of over $5 per hour. Overall, higher pay rates are most effective at increasing completion
time for shorter surveys.

This approach probably also generalizes to
non-MTurk online surveys and paper and pencil surveys, but more research should
be done to compare completion time across different platforms.