Using MTurk and Qualtrics for Social Science Research

Thursday, June 5, 2014 - 10:00am to Friday, June 6, 2014 - 5:00pm

This workshop is an introduction to MTurk and its utility in facilitating social science research. Participants will learn how to screen data collected from MTurk samples and learn the basics of how to create online surveys and experiments in Qualtrics, an online survey tool that can be used in conjunction with MTurk. 

Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is an online portal where people offer or do jobs that can be done over the internet. Over approximately the past five years, social scientists have begun using MTurk to recruit participants for their studies, outsource interview transcripts, or the like.

This workshop will introduce you to MTurk and its utility to facilitate social science research. The primary focus will be on participant recruitment. As online studies present many challenges (e.g., invalid data, non-serious responses), you will learn how to screen data collected from MTurk samples. As MTurk only gives social scientists access to online samples, it needs to be used in interaction with online survey tools. In this workshop, you will also learn the basics of how to create online surveys and experiments in Qualtrics.

As the use of online samples for social science research is still contested, we will review research on MTurk samples (in comparison to offline samples) and discuss how to defend the use of MTurk samples against potential criticism by peer reviewers.

By the end of this workshop participants will be able to:

  • Design MTurk job ads in a manner yielding the highest response rates and attracting serious respondents
  • Approve/reject the work done by MTurk workers
  • Maintain a high reputation of their own MTurk account
  • Screen data collected from MTurk samples
  • Design Qualtrics surveys and experiments
  • Justify the use of MTurk samples in top-tier publications

Participants are encouraged to bring their own study designs in order to implement them in Qualtrics and collect data through MTurk.

Workshop runs June 5 and 6, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lunch will be provided.

Register here.


Bernhard Leidner is an assistant professor of psychology. His research focuses on processes of social identification and intergroup relations, primarily in the context of large social categories such as nations and ethnic groups. Specifically, his research is at the crossroad of the social psychological areas of norms and morality (e.g., moral disengagement in response to in-group wrong-doings), intergroup threat (e.g., threat-induced shifting of moral principles such as fairness or loyalty), and social justice (e.g., reparations after in-group wrong-doings; and conflict resolution).