Taking the time? Explaining effortful participation among low-cost online survey participants


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Citation of Original Publication

Ian G. Anson TI, Taking the time? Explaining effortful participation among low-cost online survey participants, Journal Article, 2018, Research & Politics, https://doi.org/10.1177/2053168018785483


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Recent research has shown that Amazon MTurk workers exhibit substantially more effort and attention than respondents in student samples when participating in survey experiments. In this paper, I examine when and why low-cost online survey participants provide effortful responses to survey experiments in political science. I compare novice and veteran MTurk workers to participants in Qualtrics’s qBus, a comparable online omnibus program. The results show that MTurk platform participation is associated with substantially greater effort across a variety of indicators of effort relative to demographically-matched peers. This effect endures even when compensating for the amount of survey experience accumulated by respondents, suggesting that MTurk workers may be especially motivated due to an understudied self-selection mechanism. Together, the findings suggest that novice and veteran MTurk workers alike are preferable to comparable convenience sample participants when performing complex tasks.