The Popularity and Down Fall Behind Online Studies

There is a recent trend of researchers taking their studies online in the inquiry for ideal candidates. There are pros and cons. For instance, the benefits retain too easy access to a large candidate pool. The down-side is the present bias that is deprived of convenience sampling. The non-probability method draws a sample that is “close to hand.” Additionally, online sampling is subjective as it primarily hosts individuals who are willing to participate in the study. Further, the researchers are unable to confirm their online subjects.

Although the online candidate pool is diverse, there is a consistency for volunteers to be Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic. This creates a skewed participant pool.

In addition, researchers are competing with the realm of online quizzes, the same addictive quizzes that are promoted on Buzzfeed and Facebook. Therefore it is difficult to successfully gage attention when popular alternatives exist.

Researchers have created and implemented ways to keep the participants engaged. For instance, “catch trails” and “manipulation checks,” which both pose questions to check if the participant is reading the question thoroughly. The test estimates whether the participant is estimating or intentionally answering the questions. Overall, tests like these can improve the recruitment process for online studies. The studies can also serve as a supplement to the original study. There is always room for improvement when it comes to selecting a diverse pool of candidates and enriching studies.

Article by: Alexis Takagi

Works Cited

Dance, A. (2015, November 24). News Feature: How online studies are transforming psychology research. Retrieved from ​​.


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