Thursday, September 11, 2008

Why People Participate on Mechanical Turk, Now Tabulated

A few months back, I decided to ask Turkers about their motivation for participating on Mechanical Turk. I found their responses quite fascinating, so I decided to list them in their raw format, without any further tabulation and processing.

However, as the time passed, I realized that I wanted to have the results in a more summarized and accessible format. Therefore, I bit the bullet and organize the results. Of course, I had no time for such a big task. So, what to do? First, I hired two coders using, to read and identify the main reasons listed in the responses. The two coders agreed on 9 broad categories:

A. To Kill Time
B. Fruitful way to spend free time (Instead of watching TV, Not to waste time, Rather than playing video games/online games, Sense of purpose when watching TV, Something to do during downtime in work)
C. Income purposes (Gas, Bills, Make money, Credit card, Groceries, School, Help family)
D. Pocket change/extra cash (Hobbies, Mad money, Buy personal stuff)
E. For entertainment, for fun, interesting, addiction
F. Challenge, self-competition
G. Unemployed, no regular job, s part-time job
H. To sharpen/ To keep mind sharp
I. Learn English

Then, I simply listed the responses on Mechanical Turk, and asked (new) Turkers to identify the category (or categories) for each response. Here are the percentages for each category (note that one response can be classified into multiple categories):

and the actual percentages:

A. 20.50%
B. 14.00%
C. 49.00%
D. 34.00%
E. 42.00%
F. 5.50%
G. 3.50%
H. 3.50%
I. 4.00%

So, we can see that many Turkers complete such tasks to get some extra cash and pay for gas (may be we should wish for high oil prices :-) but there is a significant fraction that does it for fun, because they consider Turking interesting, and sometimes even addicting!

I still consider the responses themselves more interesting than the tabulated version, so go and take a look yourself!