I enjoy completing surveys through Mechanical Turk. Being retired, I have very little to do with my time each day. This endeavor, somewhere between a pastime and a work project, can be mentally stimulating and endlessly interesting.
The hook for me is trying to figure out what the researchers are so determined to figure out. Sometimes their purpose is rather self-evident and at other times, they seem to ask a hundred questions about automobiles when they are really concerned with school buses.
In any case, there’s always that blank box at the end that asks “what do you think this survey was really all about?” I always respond that I have no idea because I am not a rocket scientist. Of all the types of projects available on MTurk, I prefer academic surveys because they are much more likely to pay properly and they usually reflect an honest attempt at academic research.
That isn’t to say that the college students who prepare and undertake the surveys are always very knowledgeable about life. At fifty-eight years old, I sometimes become a little amused when asked if I try to dress to impress my friends or what flavor of blue jeans I most covet. One type of survey that makes me pretty steamed is one that tries to bait racist responses.
If I feel that a researcher is putting words in my mouth – and pretty awful words at that – I will often return the HIT without completing it. I’ve lived with all sorts of folks all my life without much racism and these sorts of thoughts are not even welcome in the kingdom of my brain.
I’ve completed 1,550 surveys over the past nine months, and I average about $45 a week in income from this endeavor. During the academic months, the search for fresh surveys to do is much easier and one can make a little more money.
In the summers, academic surveys become a little thin and one should expect to make a little less. Bonuses are common in the winter months. Bonuses are not only less common in the summer, one also must deal with more rejections of work during this time of year.
In terms of hourly wage, I would be very surprised if I made $2 per hour over the entire period. No taxes are withheld from this and the money is paid promptly when requested. I have never stayed in touch with any requester beyond one or two surveys.
To those who are concerned about rejections, all I can say is – don’t let them bother you. You may accidentally do a survey twice without meaning to – especially if you’ve done a lot of them. The requestor will simply reject your submission.
I do try to send a little note back to the requestor to let them know what happened – e.g. I really didn’t do this on purpose – I just forgot that I had done it before. Do be careful not to get too angry with a requestor and say things that you don’t really mean.
This can lead to some adverse actions that you’d rather not deal with. Enjoy Amazon Turk – it is a rewarding and fun project for young and old alike.
Everyone can do it if you can read and think.