Feasibility, acceptability, and validity of crowdsourcing for collecting longitudinal alcohol use data

Justin C. Strickland, William W. Stoops

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Challenges to conducting longitudinal research include financial, time, and geographic constraints. An emerging sampling method positioned to address these concerns is crowdsourcing. This study evaluated the feasibility, acceptability, and validity of collecting intensive longitudinal alcohol use data with the crowdsourcing platform, Amazon.com's Mechanical Turk (mTurk). Participants (N = 278) recruited from mTurk provided weekly recordings of daily alcohol and soda use over an 18-week period. Construct and external validity was evaluated using generalized linear mixed models describing associations of between-subject (e.g., alcohol use severity) and within-subject (e.g., day of week) variables with prospectively collected alcohol and soda use. High response rates were observed across the 18-week period demonstrating feasibility (64.1%-86.8%). The design was acceptable with 94% of participants indicating they were satisfied with the procedures. Multilevel models supported construct and external validity by replicating expected associations, such as more frequent and heavier drinking by individuals with higher AUDIT scores and on weekends. These effects were specific to alcohol use and did not extend to soda consumption. These data support the feasibility, acceptability, and validity of using mTurk for intensive longitudinal data collection. Future studies may leverage this platform to generate large, geographically diverse samples for prospective behavioral analytic research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-153
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors declare no relevant conflicts of interest. The authors gratefully acknowledge support from the National Science Foundation (Grant 1247392), Pilot Funds from the University of Kentucky Center on Drug and Alcohol Research, and Professional Development Funds from the University of Kentucky. These funding agencies had no role in study design, data collection or analysis, or preparation and submission of the manuscript. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Science Foundation or University of Kentucky.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior


  • Mechanical Turk
  • alcohol
  • human
  • mTurk
  • sampling
  • soda

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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