The Opportunities and Limitations of Using Mechanical Turk (Mturk) in Public Administration and Management Scholarship

Justin Stritch, Mogens Jin Pedersen, Gabel Taggart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Other social science fields are increasingly conducting research using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk)—an online crowdsourcing platform—but how might MTurk be useful to public administration and management research? This article provides an introduction of the platform and considers both the opportunities and limitations for using MTurk in public administration and management scholarship. We find that MTurk might be relevant for examining particular types of research questions. We identify five areas where MTurk data may complement and enhance public administration and management research: (1) exploratory analyses and survey construction; (2) measurement refinement of latent constructs; (3) experiments; (4) longitudinal research and data collection; and (5) collection of data from citizens. The article emphasizes how a key requisite conditions both the applicability of MTurk data and the validity of MTurk-based findings: the researcher must understand the boundaries and potential of the platform, since the issues related to representativeness, participation, and data quality are non-trivial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Public Management Journal
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Mar 14 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Public Administration

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