Psychological Science Faculty Publications and Presentations

An examination of the equivalency of self-report measures obtained from crowdsourced versus undergraduate student samples

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Increasingly, researchers have begun to explore the potential of the Internet to reach beyond the traditional undergraduate sample. In the present study, we sought to compare the data obtained from a conventional undergraduate college-student sample to data collected via two online survey recruitment platforms. In order to examine whether the data sampled from the three populations were equivalent, we conducted a test of equivalency using inferential confidence intervals—an approach that differs from the more traditional null hypothesis significance testing. The results showed that the data obtained via the two online recruitment platforms, the Amazon Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing site and the virtual environment of Second Life, were statistically equivalent to the data obtained from the college sample, on the basis of means of standardized measures of psychological stress and sleep quality. Additionally, correlations between the sleep and stress measures were not statistically different between the groups. These results, along with practical considerations for the use of these recruitment platforms, are discussed, and recommendations for other researchers who may be considering the use of these platforms are provided.


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Behavior research methods