A streamlined approach to online linguistic surveys
- 982 Downloads
More and more researchers in linguistics use large-scale experiments to test hypotheses about the data they research, in addition to more traditional informant work. In this paper we describe a new set of free, open-source tools that allow linguists to post studies online, turktools. These tools allow for the creation of a wide range of linguistic tasks, including grammaticality surveys, sentence completion tasks, and picture-matching tasks, allowing for easily implemented large-scale linguistic studies. Our tools further help streamline the design of such experiments and assist in the extraction and analysis of the resulting data. Surveys created using the tools described in this paper can be posted on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service, a popular crowdsourcing platform that mediates between ‘Requesters’ who can post surveys online and ‘Workers’ who complete them. This allows many linguistic surveys to be completed within hours or days and at relatively low costs. Alternatively, researchers can host these randomized experiments on their own servers using a supplied server-side component.
KeywordsExperimental methods Online surveys Web-based experiments Crowdsourcing Amazon Mechanical Turk Software
For helpful comments and discussion of this paper and the associated tools, we would like to thank Martin Hackl, David Pesetsky, Coppe van Urk, and participants of our 2013 workshop at MIT on designing linguistic experiments for Mechanical Turk. The current paper has also greatly benefited from the feedback of four anonymous NLLT reviewers, as well as the editor Marcel den Dikken. Any and all errors are ours.
- Berinsky, Adam J., Gregory A. Huber, and Gabriel S. Lenz. 2012. Evaluating online labor markets for experimental research: Amazon.com’s Mechanical Turk. Political Analysis. Google Scholar
- Cable, Seth, and Jesse Harris. 2011. On the grammatical status of PP-Pied-Piping in English: Results from sentence-rating experiments. In University of Massachusetts Occasional Papers in Linguistics: Processing Linguistic Structure, eds. Margaret Grant and Jesse Harris. Vol. 38, 1–22. Amherst: GLSA Publications. Google Scholar
- Chomsky, Noam. 1965. Aspects of the theory of syntax. Cambridge: MIT Press. Google Scholar
- Cowart, Wayne. 1997. Experimental syntax: Applying objective methods to sentence judgments. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. Google Scholar
- Cowart, Wayne. 2012. Doing experimental syntax: bridging the gap between syntactic questions and well-designed questionnaires. In In search of grammar: Experimental and corpus-based studies, ed. James Myers, 67–96. Google Scholar
- Drummond, Alex. 2007. Ibex (Internet-based experiments). Software. https://code.google.com/p/webspr/.
- Fukuda, Shin, Dan Michel, Henry Beecher, and Grant Goodall. 2010. Comparing three methods for sentence judgment experiments. Linguistic Society of America (LSA) Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD. Google Scholar
- Gelman, Andrew, and Jennifer Hill. 2007. Data analysis using regression and multilevel/hierarchical models. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Google Scholar
- Germine, Laura, Ken Nakayama, Bradley C. Duchaine, Christopher F. Chabris, Garga Chatterjee, and Jeremy B. Wilmer. 2012. Is the Web as good as the lab? Comparable performance from web and lab in cognitive/perceptual experiments. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review 19(5). Google Scholar
- Keller, Frank. 2000. Gradience in Grammar: Experimental and computational aspects of degrees of grammaticality. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Edinburgh. Google Scholar
- Keller, Frank, Martin Corley, Steffan Corley, Lars Konieczny, and Amalia Todirascu. 1998. WebExp: A Java toolbox for web-based psychological experiments (Technical Report No. HCRC/TR-99). Human Communication Research Centre, University of Edinburgh. Google Scholar
- Kotek, Hadas, Yasutada Sudo, Edwin Howard, and Martin Hackl. 2011. Most meanings are superlative. In Syntax and semantics 37: Experiments at the interfaces, ed. Jeff Runner, 101–145. Google Scholar
- Little, Greg. 2009. How many turkers are there? Deneme: A blog of experiments on Amazon Mechanical Turk. http://groups.csail.mit.edu/uid/deneme/?p=502. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
- Milsark, Gary. 1974. Existential sentences in English, Doctoral dissertation, MIT. Google Scholar
- Milsark, Gary. 1977. Toward an explanation of certain peculiarities of the existential construction in English. Linguistic Analysis 3: 1–29. Google Scholar
- Munro, Robert, Steven Bethard, Victor Kuperman, Vicky Tzuyin Lai, Robin Melnick, Christopher Potts, Tyler Schnoebelen, and Harry Tily. 2010. Crowdsourcing and language studies: the new generation of linguistic data. In Workshop on Creating Speech and Language Data with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, Los Angeles, CA. Google Scholar
- Paolacci, Gabriele, Jesse Chandler, and Panagiotis Ipeirotis. 2010. Running experiments on Amazon Mechanical Turk. Judgment and Decision Making 5(5): 411–419. Google Scholar
- Phillips, Colin. 2010. Should we impeach armchair linguists? In Japanese-Korean Linguistics (JK17), eds. Soichi Iwasaki, Hajime Hoji, Patricia Clancy, Devyani Sharma, and Sung-Och Sohn. Vol. 17, 49–64. Stanford: CSLI Publications. Google Scholar
- Schütze, Carson. 1996. The empirical base of linguistics: grammaticality judgments and linguistic methodology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Google Scholar
- Schütze, Carson, and Jon Sprouse. 2013. Judgment data. In Research Methods in Linguistics, eds. Robert J. Podesva and Devyani Sharma, 27–50. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Google Scholar
- Sprouse, Jon. 2013. Acceptability judgments. In Oxford Bibliographies Online: Linguistics, ed. Mark Aronoff. Google Scholar
- Tamir, D. 2011. 50,000 Worldwide Mechanical Turk workers. Techlist, http://techlist.com/mturk/global-mturk-worker-map.php.
- Tily, Harry, and Edward Gibson. 2015, in preparation. Self-paced reading on Mechanical Turk. Google Scholar