We are currently doing a study where we thought it might be smart to try out the possibilities of recruiting participants from the Internet. I was thinking it might be best to ask more experienced members, where would be the best kinds of places to publicize the experiment, and what strategies they would recommend to this?

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    Do you mean "publish" as in publish a paper about the experiment, or "publish" as in publicize the link so people visit it, or what? Please clarify.
    – ff524
    Sep 3, 2015 at 21:11
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    Thanks a lot, point well taken. I did mean this in the sense of publicize, I now see how poorly phrased it was for academia. The problem I would say is still rather general: The internet offers a potentially infinite pool of participants to take a part in our experiments with close to no costs in the form of people surfing the web. It seems worth a thought how best to reach these audiences for attentive participants, who follow the instructions and make an effort. We'll continue to look into this. Thanks for the corrections though, and sorry for spamminess.
    – puslet88
    Sep 9, 2015 at 22:03
  • Ok, since you have clarified we were able to reopen the question. Hopefully this can get answers now.
    – ff524
    Sep 9, 2015 at 22:27
  • If it's truly considered an "experiment", there may be limitations on where/how you can publicize it. What's the nature of the study? For example, if you're asking health-related questions, if it's some type of mental health survey, etc.. Even if it's just a "simple" survey, there still may still be policies and regulations that you'll need to follow. In some cases your only option might be to follow your institutions procedures for recruiting/publicizing your type of study -- That can still be done via internet, just within the institutions' system for publicizing & recruiting participants.
    – Beth R.
    Sep 9, 2015 at 23:59

1 Answer 1


One approach that has become popular amongst many social and cognitive scientists is the use of Amazon Mechanical Turk, which is an internet piecework marketplace. Many people have used this for recruiting study participants, and IRBs have been quite receptive to its use.

Designing studies for Mechanical Turk is challenging, and presents different issues than designing for in-person studies. A number of online resources exist that discuss the advantages and challenges (e.g., this blog, this paper, and this website). Mechanical Turk also poses sampling issues---as has been noted, however, typical recruitment methods also end up getting almost exclusively WIERD participants, so it's unclear how much of an issue that actually is.

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