How Many HITs are Academic HITs? My data part 1

Thousands of HITs are available every day. How many of these are for academic work?

There’s no simple way to find out, I don’t think, unless that means looking at every HIT and every Requester for academic confirmation, and repeating that every day. Alternatively, one could find a way to ‘scrape’ MTurk’s history, which is probably stored in the bowels of Amazon some where, right?

OR, you do what I did and bootstrap your way (I know I’m using the term incorrectly) to find out.

METHOD: Twice a day for the past week I’ve done some HIT searching on Mturk. I looked at HIT groups, which is different than the total number of HITs as a single HIT group can offer hundreds of jobs (ie if you want a survey, you’d create one HIT but you might want 200 people to complete it). Thanks to Kristy for the clarification!


Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 3.12.36 PM

I’ve repeated this search for several words/terms, including: academic, survey, academic survey,experiment, academic experiment, transcribe, find url, rate, keyword, tag, review and write.I’ve searched twice a day for a week, and I’ll continue to do this until I get bored or things get redundant.

So this week’s report:

Average number of HITs available: 3526 (rounded up)
Average total HITs containing ‘academic’: 46 (1.3%), academic survey: 46 (1.3%), academic experiment: 2 (less than .07%)
Average total Hits containing survey: 703 (20%), Experiment: 49 (1.4%)

And then in descending order of dominance, the average number of hits containing:
Tag: 1303 (37%)
Transcribe: 521 (15%)
Review: 436 (12%)
Keyword: 107 (3%)
Find URL: 81 (2%)
Write: 69 (2%)
Extract: 49 (1%)

Of course, the number available to an individual Turker will vary based on qualifications desired by Requesters. And of course, I’m probably not capturing a really sharp image of what’s happening, perhaps more like a watercolor impressionist painting of a tiny slice in time. But I’ll continue doing this and see what comes up.

If you have something you’d like me to search for, let me know!

2 thoughts on “How Many HITs are Academic HITs? My data part 1

  1. Where did you get the HITs available number from? When I look at mTurk right now, I see “357,838 HITs available now”. Or did you get the number from “All HITs 1-10 of 3336 Results”? If so, that’s HIT groups (which can each potentially contain thousands of HITs). If so, you might want to change the wording to ease confusion. 🙂 Not that anyone but a Turker would really realize lol.


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