Princeton University
Princeton Survey Research Center

Woodrow Wilson School

Consultation Education Project Management

Using Amazon's Mechanical Turk Service at Princeton

Amazon's Mechanical Turk service has become an increasingly popular way for researchers to conduct online experiments. Anyone with access to the Internet can use the service as a way to draw respondents for any type of web-based survey or experiment. It's a relatively low cost way to engage a diverse set of respondents in a short period of time.

To use the service, you first need to open an account as a "requestor" so that you can create a path between the MTurk workers who want to participate in your study and your online questionnaire. The links shown below will help you learn more about setting up and using your MTurk requester account. The Survey Research Center (SRC) does not endorse MTurk, nor does it receive any remuneration related to anyone's use of the service.

This webpage and the links provided below have been posted in response to requests by Princeton University students for information about how to use the MTurk service for their research projects. The SRC has also created a discussion board that students can use to get answers to questions about the service or to learn from the experiences of other students and faculty members who are MTurk users.

Basic Questions and Answers

SRC Mechanical Turk Discussion Board

Amazon Mechanical Turk (beta). June 2011. Requester Best Practices Guide.

Additional information

Berinsky, Adam J. Gregory A. Huber, and Gabriel S. Lenz. 2012. "Evaluating Online Labor Markets for Experimental Research:Amazon.com's Mechanical Turk." Political Analysis.

Berinsky, Adam J. Gregory A. Huber, and Gabriel S. Lenz. 2010. "Using Mechanical Turk as a Subject Recruitment Tool for Experimental Research"

Rand, D.G. 2012. "The Promise of Mechanical Turk: How Online Labor Markets Can Help Theorists Run Behavioral Experiments. Journal of Theoretical Biology 299, 172-179.

Horton J.J., Rand D.G., Zeckhauser R.J. 2011. "The Online Laboratory: Conducting Experiments in a Real Labor Market." Experimental Economics. 14, 399-425.

Mims, Christopher. January 3, 2010. "How Mechanical Turk is Broken." Technology Review.

Caulfield, Brian. June 15, 2011. "Amazon Mechanical Turk Will Hook You Up With Porn Jobs That Pay Pennies" Forbes Magazine.

"Scientifically Speaking, Nice Guys Do Not Actually Finish Last" Gizmodo.