TurkPrime Blog

TurkPrime Blog

After the Bot Scare: Understanding What’s Been Happening with Data Collection on MTurk and How to Stop it

Posted by TurkPrime on Sep 18, 2018 2:07:52 PM

Highlights

  • Since early August, researchers have worried that “bots” are contaminating data collected on MTurk.
  • We found workers who submit HITs from suspicious geolocations are using server farms to hide their true location.
  • When using TurkPrime tools to block workers from server farms, we collected high quality data from MTurk workers.
  • We also collected data from workers who use server farms to learn more about them.
  • Our evidence suggests recent data quality problems are tied to foreign workers, not bots.

In this blog, we review recent data quality issues on Mechanical Turk and report the results of a study we conducted to investigate the problem.

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Topics: bots, turkprime, server farms, high quality data, data quality

TurkPrime Tools to Help Combat Responses from Suspicious Geolocations

Posted by Jonathan Robinson on Aug 15, 2018 2:51:00 PM

Last week, the research community was struck with concern that “bots” were contaminating data collection on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk). We wrote about the issue and conducted our own preliminary investigation into the problem using the TurkPrime database. In this blog, we introduce two new tools TurkPrime is launching to help researchers combat suspicious activity on MTurk and reiterate some of the important takeaways from this conversation so far.

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Topics: amazon mechanical turk, bots, mechanical turk, mturk, workers

Concerns about Bots on Mechanical Turk: Problems and Solutions

Posted by Leib Litman on Aug 10, 2018 6:46:00 PM

Data quality on online platforms

When researchers collect data online, it’s natural to be concerned about data quality. Participants aren’t in the lab, so researchers can’t see who is taking their survey, what those participants are doing while answering questions, or whether participants are who they say they are. Not knowing is unsettling.

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Topics: bots, mechanical turk, mturk, quality, turkprime, workers

MicroBatch is now a Pro Feature

Posted by Leib Litman on Jan 11, 2018 11:27:00 AM

TurkPrime is announcing a change in our pricing for the MicroBatch feature. MicroBatch is now included as a Pro feature, with a fee of 2 cents + 5% per complete. This will also provide users with access to all other pro features, with no additional charge. This change is necessary so that we can continue to provide the highest quality service and tools that our users expect.

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Topics: amazon mechanical turk, microbatch, mturk, online research, pro features

Conducting research: How online research tools can help

Posted by Leib Litman on Dec 22, 2017 3:34:00 PM

When researchers learn about conducting research online, it can sometimes be difficult to understand quite how all the tools that are available can actually be applied to a project. This post is about how specific research ideas can be carried out using the kinds of features available for online research. Online research tools can make it much simpler to recruit balanced samples of individuals that are hard to find and selectively sample using more traditional methods.

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Topics: Uncategorized

New Feature: Exclude Highly Active Workers

Posted by Leib Litman on Dec 15, 2017 12:30:00 PM

Some workers on MTurk are extremely active, and take the majority of posted HITs. This can lead to many issues, some of which are outlined in our previous post. Although MTurk has over 100,000 workers who take surveys each year, and around 25,000 who take surveys each month, you are much more likely to recruit highly active workers who take a majority of HITs. About 1,000 workers (1% of workers) take 21% of the HITs. About 10,000 workers (10% of workers) take 74% of all HITs.

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Topics: active workers, amazon mechanical turk, exclude, exclude workers, HIT, mechanical turk, mturk, online research, turkprime, workers, active

Best recruitment practices: working with issues of non-naivete on MTurk

Posted by Leib Litman on Dec 8, 2017 3:59:00 PM

It is important to consider how many highly experienced workers there are on Mechanical Turk. As discussed in previous posts, there is a population pool of active workers in the thousands, but this is far from exhaustible. A small group of workers take a very large number of HITs posted to MTurk, and these workers are very experienced and have seen measures commonly used in the social and behavioral sciences. Research has shown that when participants are repeatedly exposed to the same measures, this can have negative effects on data collection, changing the way workers perform, creating treatment effects, giving participants insight into the purpose of some studies, and in some cases impact effect sizes of experimental manipulations. This issue is referred to as non-naivete (Chandler, 2014; Chandler, 2016).

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Topics: amazon mechanical turk, approval rating, experience, exposure, HIT, mechanical turk, mturk, naivete, non-naive, primepanels, qualification, recruitment, requester, workers

Are MTurk workers who they say they are?

Posted by Leib Litman on Dec 1, 2017 2:19:00 PM

The internet has the reputation of being a place where people can hide in anonymity, and present as being very different people than who they actually are. Is this a problem on Mechanical Turk? Is the self-reported information provided by Mechanical Turk workers reliable? These are important questions which have been addressed with several different methods. Researchers have examined a) consistency of responding to the same questions over time and across studies b) the validity of responses, or the degree to which the items capture responses that represent the truth from participants. It turns out that there are certain situations in which MTurk workers are likely to lie, but they are who they say they are in almost all cases.

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Topics: amazon mechanical turk, anonymous, demographics, HIT, mturk, panels, qualification, turkprime panels, unique worker, worker groups, workers

Strengths and Limitations of Mechanical Turk

Posted by Leib Litman on Nov 20, 2017 11:12:00 PM

Hundreds of academic papers are published each year using data collected through Mechanical Turk. Researchers have gravitated to Mechanical Turk primarily because it provides high quality data quickly and affordably. However, Mechanical Turk has strengths and weaknesses as a platform for data collection. While Mechanical Turk has revolutionized data collection, it is by no means a perfect platform. Some of the major strengths and limitations of MTurk are summarized below.

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Topics: amazon mechanical turk, demographics, exclude workers, google form mechanical turk, HIT, mechanical turk, mturk, mturk api, panels, qualification, study, turkprime panels, unique worker, worker groups, workers

Upcoming New Content on the Blog

Posted by TurkPrime on Nov 17, 2017 11:43:00 AM

Greetings Reader,

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Topics: amazon mechanical turk, online research, primepanels, turkprime