MTurk results on privacy and security: as good as nationally representative samples


“In this paper, we compare the results of a survey about security and privacy knowledge, experiences, advice, and internet behavior distributed using MTurk (n=480), a nearly census-representative web-panel (n=428), and a probabilistic telephone sample (n=3,000) statistically weighted to be accurate within 2.7% of the true prevalence in the U.S. Surprisingly, we find that MTurk responses are slightly more representative of the U.S. population than are responses from the census-representative panel, except for users who hold no more than a high-school diploma or who are 50 years of age or older. Further, we find that statistical weighting of MTurk responses to balance demographics does not significantly improve generalizability. This leads us to hypothesize that differences between MTurkers and the general public are due not to demographics, but to differences in factors such as internet skill. ”

Read the whole paper here!


Redmiles, Elissa M., Sean Kross, Alisha Pradhan, and Michelle L. Mazurek. How Well Do My Results Generalize? Comparing Security and Privacy Survey Results from MTurk and Web Panels to the US. 2017.

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