What Is Connect?

Connect is an easy-to-use crowdsourcing platform for online research projects. We designed it to make conducting online studies easy and to give researchers access to the highest-quality data available anywhere online. 

On Connect researchers set up projects and launch them to tens of thousands of high-quality participants who enjoy completing the projects for extra cash. The projects on Connect can be for social and behavioral research, market research, polling, user experience research, machine learning, and anything in between. 

Getting started with Connect is simple and, once you use the site, you’ll find a variety of features that ease the time-consuming aspects of online research like our Connect Teams tools for collaborators to share projects or funding and our invoicing and accounting tools that save time when compiling spending or activity reports. And, the best part is because Connect was built and backed by CloudResearch, you can be confident you’ll gather data of exceptional quality.

Why Should I Use Connect?

Lots of reasons:

How Does Connect Differ From the MTurk Toolkit? 

Simply put, when you use the MTurk Toolkit you are recruiting MTurk workers through Mechanical Turk. That means all participants have an MTurk worker account and access the study through the MTurk platform. Connect is an entirely different platform. 

Connect has absolutely no connection to Mechanical Turk. The overwhelming majority of Connect participants do not have MTurk accounts. To sign up for a Connect account, participants go through a Connect security process, access studies through their Connect dashboard, and are paid through the Connect platform. Only on Connect does CloudResearch manage the participant experience end-to-end (e.g., recruitment, vetting, invitations to projects) and the quality of interactions between researchers and participants. 

You do not need a Mechanical Turk account to conduct studies on Connect. To run Connect studies, all you need to do is set up a Connect account. You will then be able to launch and manage studies using the Connect interface, and decide details like how much the project pays, how to review and approve submissions, and how to adjust data collection as the project progresses. If you already have a CloudResearch account, all you need to do is sign into Connect to get started.  

Many researchers use CloudResearch’s MTurk Toolkit to improve Mechanical Turk. While we love our MTurk Toolkit, it does not compare to the simplicity, versatility, or cost-effectiveness of Connect. 

How Does Connect Differ from Prime Panels?

Simply put, Connect is an entirely different platform. Connect has absolutely no connection to Prime Panels. The overwhelming majority of Connect participants do not have accounts on any of the platforms that make up Prime Panels. Connect participants access studies and are paid through the Connect platform. Only on Connect does CloudResearch manage the participant experience from end-to-end (e.g., recruitment, vetting, invitations to projects). For more information on which studies are better suited for Connect or Prime Panels see here.

Why Connect Is the Best Source of Online Participants on the Internet

Connect employs the most sophisticated and up-to-date data quality measures anywhere online. We vet people when they sign up. And, we continue to monitor quality once people are on our site. The result is better control over the quality of participants and more ability to intervene when problems arise, leading to more trustworthy research. 

CloudResearch solved the MTurk data quality problem with our Approved List (see our paper here). However, on MTurk, CloudResearch does not control the point of sign up, meaning we can only react to data quality threats. The same is not true on Connect where we are in full control of the entire participant journey.

Connect has a variety of features that ease the time-consuming aspects of online research like our Connect Teams tools for collaborators to share projects or funding and our invoicing and accounting tools that save time when compiling spending or activity reports.

With Connect you can set up National studies and quota samples with a click of a button.

The fee for Connect is 25% of participant compensation, making Connect the most affordable research platform of its kind (other platforms’ fees often range from 30-50%). 

Also, when you create a Connect account, we give you 30 days to run studies with zero fees! That means for the first 30 days you just pay your participants. It’s one more way we make high-quality online research even more affordable.   

On Connect, creating a project is intuitive and researchers have access to powerful tools directly from the dashboard. 

CloudResearch offers outstanding customer service in the form of product demonstrations, support from our customer service representatives, and resources that teach about online research in our knowledge base, academic papers, YouTube channel, and other venues. 

Who Are the Participants on Connect? 

Connect participants are people who enjoy taking surveys to earn extra money online. Once a new participant signs up, they are vetted to ensure they’re honest, attentive, and engaged. Participants are currently restricted to the U.S. and must be at least 18 years old. In time, we intend to expand the participant base beyond the US. 

How Are Participants Recruited?

CloudResearch engages in targeted online ads, marketing, and other recruitment efforts, and many participants hear about Connect from family, friends, online message boards, YouTube videos, etc. 

How Many People Will Take My Study?

General population studies for 500 people generally complete within an hour and studies for up to 2,000 people complete within a few hours. Census-matched studies for 500 to 1,000 people generally complete in half a day or less. 

Researchers can expect a sample size of about 7,500 people within a 1-5 day window (as of December 2022). 

Feel free to reach out to us to inquire about your specific needs!

What Demographics Can I Target?

Connect’s built-in demographic data allows researchers to target people on a variety of broad characteristics (e.g., age, race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, political views, etc). We have also profiled participants on a variety of behavioral and lifestyle factors (etc. usage of social media sites) that can be used for sampling and we intend to continually expand our profiling options.

If we do not have the demographic data you’re interested in using, there are two options.

  1.  Request that we add your question to our demographic data collection. You can do so within the demographic targeting window of the project creation page. Once you add your question and answer options, we will add it to our demographic profiling section and have several qualified participants within about a week.  
  2. The second thing you can do is conduct your own pre-study screening process. To do this, you need to conduct one study in which you ask people a handful of demographic questions, including the question you are interested in using for later targeting. Then, you can create a project that follows up with just the eligible participants.

What Data Quality Controls Are in Place on Connect?

We vet every participant who signs up on Connect with our patented data quality solutions. The solutions CloudResearch has developed are based on years of research by our team and are specifically designed to catch fraudsters, weed out inattentive responders, and elevate the overall quality of online data without skewing sample demographics. 

With Connect, data quality is paramount. Once participants are on the platform, we continually review and measure quality with various metrics and an on-going behavioral analysis. Researchers can also flag and report participants that we also review as part of the ongoing quality process.

In addition to our rigorous behavioral vetting, we use technical checks to ensure participants are located in the U.S., only operating one account, and not submitting multiple responses from the same IP address. Because bad actors are always adapting their behavior, researchers should understand that no solution is perfectly accurate, but we’re always striving for zero instances of fraud. And, CloudResearch leads the online research industry in developing solutions to today’s data quality challenges.

Our vetting leads to cleaner data, from real people, with high-quality open ended responses. It’s quality you can see and quality you can trust.  

What Happens When I Launch My Project?

We email a subset of qualified participants. We tell them how long your project lasts, what it pays, and we provide a link to the project. These emails drive participants to the project and increase the speed of data collection. 

In addition to emails, your study also appears on the Connect dashboard. Any eligible participant logged into the site may see it and accept it. Once your project completes, you can review participant submissions and approve or reject each assignment.   

What Are Payment Norms on Connect?

Studies pay, on average, $10/hour. CloudResearch recommends a minimum of $7.50/hour, but encourages more. 

Projects should pay above our recommended minimum when they are difficult or require sustained commitment from participants (e.g., longitudinal studies, diary studies, video interviews, interactive engagements). Paying above the norm in these cases incentivizes people to accept the project, return for follow up waves, etc. 

Projects should also pay above the norm when they require a lot of writing, creativity, or participant engagement beyond answering survey questions. And, of course, projects can pay more anytime the researcher feels it will promote data quality or is in line with their personal beliefs about online research.    

We recognize research takes place on a budget and some researchers have more resources than others. We feel $7.50/hour is a fair baseline for projects that require answering survey type questions. Our research shows that most participants view online survey-taking as a form of paid leisure, rather than a part-time or full-time job. Nevertheless, we set a floor and encourage people to pay as much as they want to participants.  

What Kinds of Projects Can I Conduct on Connect?

The better question is what kind of projects can you not conduct on Connect. The list is short: 

Beyond the projects listed above, if you can program it, motivate people to take it, and successfully execute it with online tools, it’s a project you can conduct on Connect!

If I Run a Study on MTurk and on Connect, Can I Exclude Participants Who Participated on the Other Platform?

Unfortunately, no. 

Each platform is run independently making it impossible to prevent participants from Connect from entering your study on our MTurk Toolkit or vice versa. 

Overlap between participant platforms is a common, even if under-appreciated, fact of the modern research environment. The data we have suggests there is less than 15% overlap in the participant population of Connect and MTurk. This number is in line with comparisons between other platforms, but researchers should be aware of the possibility of non-independence in samples conducted across different online platforms. 

Given issues of non-independence, we recommend against running the same study at the same time on multiple participant platforms, regardless of whether it is through CloudResearch or not. We also recommend that when it is crucial to avoid the same participants within a series of studies (i.e., projects in the same line of work or that involve a measure or manipulation that may be ineffective after previous exposure) researchers should conduct the studies on the same participant site to ensure they can maintain independence of observations.

How Do I Pay for Projects on Connect?

Before launching a project, you will be asked to fund your account. You can do so by credit card or ACH wire transfer. Alternatively, if you are collaborating with others, they could transfer funds to your account.

Once your account is funded, you can launch your project. 

Can I Transfer Funds from My CloudResearch “Lab” Account to Connect?

Yes. To move funds from your CloudResearch lab balance to Connect please contact us and let us know your CloudResearch username/email and how much you want to move. Transfers are typically complete within 1 business day.  

While we can transfer your CloudResearch Lab balance to Connect, we cannot transfer your Amazon MTurk balance. That money is held by Amazon (CloudResearch is not affiliated with Amazon). However, it is fairly simple to request a refund from Amazon.

What Kinds of Fees Do I Pay When Using Connect?

Connect is the most affordable platform of its kind with a service fee of 25% of whatever you pay participants. This means if you paid each participant $1.00, you would pay CloudResearch 25 cents per participant. Service fees on other platforms range from 30 to 50 percent.

Currently fees for demographic targeting and Census Matched samples are being waived.