Prospects for Online Crowdsourcing of Social Science Research Tasks: A Case Study Using Amazon Mechanical Turk

New paper by Catherine E. Schmitt-Sands and Richard J. Smith: “While the internet has created new opportunities for research, managing the increased complexity of relationships and knowledge also creates challenges. has a Mechanical Turk service that allows people to crowdsource simple tasks for a nominal fee. The online workers may be anywhere in North America or India and range in ability. Social science researchers are only beginning to use this service. While researchers have used crowdsourcing to find research subjects or classify texts, we used Mechanical Turk to conduct a policy scan of local government websites. This article describes the process used to train and ensure quality of the policy scan. It also examines choices in the context of research ethics.”