Press/Studies On the Ethics of Crowdsourced Research (Feb 2016)


The Ghost of MTurk Past
Jan 10, 2016
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"Mechanical Turk is a bargain for researchers, but not for workers. A survey typically takes a couple minutes per person, so the hourly rate is very low. This might be acceptable if all turkers were people with other jobs, for whom the payment was incidental. But scholars have known for years that the vast majority of MTurk tasks are completed by a small set of workers who spend long hours on the website, and that many of those workers are very poor. "

The article is based on this research paper from 2014:

Abstract: This article examines the ethics of crowdsourcing in social science research, with reference to my own experience using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. As these types of research tools become more common in scholarly work, we must acknowledge that many participants are not one-time respondents or even hobbyists. Many people work long hours completing surveys and other tasks for very low wages, relying on those incomes to meet their basic needs. I present my own experience of interviewing Mechanical Turk participants about their sources of income, and I offer recommendations to individual researchers, social science departments, and journal editors regarding the more ethical use of crowdsourcing.