Introduction

What is TurkServer?

TurkServer is a platform for building software-controlled, web-based behavioral experiments using participants from the Internet. We can now study more complex tasks and set up interactions that happen over longer periods of time or among larger numbers of people. This allows us to design more expansive and realistic behavioral experiments.

By taking advantage of the movement toward the web as an all-purpose application platform, and providing a common system on which to build software-based behavioral experiments, TurkServer allows for:

This means we can go from very artificial environments to studying realistic, complex tasks such as teamwork and collective intelligence:

CrowdMapper Replay

Sharing and Replication

One significant annoyance of doing experiments is that they’re a lot of work, yet this work is often redundant: it is either not shared or involves reinventing the wheel. So, other than just supporting more advanced experimental designs, another goal of TurkServer is to lower the barrier to both producing and sharing experimental research.

We can do this by making everything open-source software: not only is the core platform open-source, but experiments built on it are as well. This means that researchers can now share not only data, but entire experimental protocols. For example, check out the code for the teamwork experiment above.

In this way, building off someone else’s experiment means you don’t have to implement it from scratch: just grab their code and use it!

Next Steps

Ready to jump in? Check out the quick start, a basic (but fully functional) tutorial app, or read up on how to think about designing experiments with TurkServer.