Ask an Internet Research Question

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Revision as of 22:12, 29 August 2006 by Monroe (Talk | contribs)
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This page is being watched by Ravi Iyer, a php/mysql programmer/graduate student in Social Psychology, who built the technical parts of this website, in order to provide a forum for people to get help on the technical aspects of creating an internet survey in a way where the knowledge isn't lost. Simply edit this page by adding your question and Ravi promises to get back to you with an answer. Over time, we hope to accumulate a broad spectrum of questions/answers.


I want to start doing studies online, so do I need my OWN webpage for that, or can I put the study somehow on a webpage within my school’s official webpage?

This depends on your school. At USC, there is a lot of red tape and regulation of the school's official web resources (with good reason) such that it is much easier to find one own's hosting provider. Perhaps this seems like a daunting task, but in reality, your new hosting provider is likely to have tools that make your life easier. Most good hosting providers in the $10-20/month range will provide a control panel where you can create mysql databases, view statistics on your visitors, setup email accounts, and more. Make sure they provide the technology that you need for your study (typically php & mysql).

How do I get a domain name and hosting?

Domain names (ie. "") are rented by the year and cost from $7-30 each year. Once you have a name, you can keep it and renew it for as many years as you wish. In addition to ".com", ".net", and ".org" domain names, you can buy names associated with a country (ie. ".uk" or ".in") from specialized registrars although there are rules for this.

You can use google to find a list of domain name registrars (ie. GoDaddy or Network Solutions), but most hosting companies will also sell you a domain name when you sign up with them. They'll take care of pointing the domain name to your hosting companies nameserver if you don't want to deal with it. This may sound complex, but it's simply a matter of putting in the right answer (your hosting company will tell you the value) in the right place when you register your domain name.

How do I get subjects for my studies?

It is human nature to assume that if we build something, people will realize our effort and utilize it, but unfortunately, on the internet, it takes work to get people to find your study. There is no one answer to this question and you may have to try a number of things before you find something that works for your study, depending on the subject matter and incentives you are offering. Try for an ongoing discussion of subject recruitment.

What about diary (or multi-wave) studies?

Dear Ravi,

We have designed a diary study and would like to collect some data online. Our participants are supposed to fill out their first batch of questionnaires online on the first day, and come back to fill out additional questionnaire in a form of diaries everyday in a 14-day period. If they missed one day, the system should generate an automatic email to remind them of participation. Is there a good way to do that? Your help will be appreciated.

Go home, you loser. You are obviously not smart enough to be doing research.

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