Training Institute in Social Psychology: Conducting Research via the WWW
Reips, University of Zürich
- This document is also at
http://www.genpsy.unizh.ch/forschungUR/ati/instructions.html (spares you from
typing of URLs) -
Schematic description of a Web experiment:
Exercise 1 in Lesson 1: Designing your Web experiments
using WEXTOR, the interactive (Web) experiment generator.
your experimental design (your own one, an example from a previous lesson,
or follow the example in Reips and Neuhaus (2002) redesigning the Web
experiment by Frick, Bächtiger, & Reips (2001) published in Dimensions
of Internet Science, as in the example
down factors and levels, e. g.
of personal information questions (beginning/end)
desirability evoking context / order of target questions (TVàCO/COàTV)
To get an impression of how many
experimental conditions your design will include, you might want to use a
visualization tool that is to implemented in the Swiss Virtual Campus at
(This tool is in German, but it is quite
self-explanatory, and it will be available in English soon)
the ATI version of WEXTOR using a Web browser:
version at http://www.genpsylab.unizh.ch/wextor/index.html).
types of factors (within, between, quasi/natural), e.g. I-III
between-subjects, IV quasi-experimental
about the procedure: how many Web pages will you need in one condition.
Consider using the warm-up technique (Reips, 1997, 2000).
through Steps 1-9 in WEXTOR
WEXTOR logo survey has ended.
the introductory pages
WEXTOR is in "beta" stage: It will sometimes crash out of the
blue, and it is very sensitive to some user behaviors (for example, do
NOT resize your browser window while using WEXTOR or you might loose your
previous entries!). If you encounter a serious error, it might be best to
restart using a different Web browser. Please report errors using the
"bug" form at the WEXTOR Web site. If you would like to learn
might want to take a look at Schwarz & Reips (2001) in Dimensions
of Internet Science, or Buchanan
& Reips (2001) at
http://server3.uni-psych.gwdg.de/gor/contrib/buchanan-tom (also on
Follow the example in the paper, screenshots will illustrate what to do.
Using WEXTOR you will learn that often it is most effective to run through
it quickly, making only rough entries. This way, you will quickly arrive
at a first visualization of your experimental design. You would then
reconsider various aspects of your design and potentially make changes
before saving the Web pages (saving the Web pages takes most of the time
needed in using WEXTOR). The redesign would take place during a second
run, this time by making your entries in WEXTOR more slowly and carefully.
Notice that some of the steps in WEXTOR really don't require more than a
click on "Next step", if you go with the recommended default
settings. Those steps are: 2, 3, 6, 7c, 9a&b.
your design (please print a second copy for the instructor, it will be
needed for setting up the Web experiment).
your design as instructed. Create a folder for your experiment, if you
haven't done so yet. Name the experiment folder by using your last name
plus a five digit number, e.g. "reips66362".
folders for all between-factors experimental conditions (as instructed)
within your experiment directory and save your Web pages using WinEdit.
Copy those of the saved pages to all folders that will be different in
each of the between-factors experimental conditions (you will copy the
other pages later). You now have created the underlying structure and
procedure (the "skeleton") for your Web experiment!
Exercise 2 in Lesson 1: Designing your Web pages
will now create content on your Web pages, e.g. instructions texts,
images, rating scales. Instead of Step 10 in WEXTOR you may want to use
SurveyWiz or FactorWiz to create questions and scales and paste the HTML
code into the pages, or you may work using a WYSIWYG HTML editor, such as
Macromedia Dreamweaver or Adobe GoLive. Adobe GoLive is installed on all
one of your Web pages in GoLive. In Layout mode type in your text, and put
in your images and form elements. The Figure below shows how the first
page all users will see looks like in GoLive (that is, if they have
Note the Source tab above the arrow. By clicking it you can look at your HTML
code any time. Forms are already in the pages (as indicated by the F in the
square in the upper left corner) - they use the GET method (FORM ACTION =
"GET"). Therefore, do not use large text fields (not larger than
about 200 characters, in sum). Use short form element names.
Notice the small window in Golive that says
"Instructor". It will change ist contents dependent on what you
select in the page window. Click on the button and replace "Name your
button here" by a more suitable name.
In the palette window under "Objects",
pick the image symbol and drag it to your page (see Figure below).
From Gary's Web page or from the ati Folder copy your image to your experiment
folder. With the image symbol selected, in the Inspector window choose that
image as the source and set its properties.
In a similar fashion, create
contents for the other pages of your experiment.
pages that are the same in all conditions to all other folders.
your experiment folder to the folder "WEXTOR exercise" in the
"Reips" folder on the disk "ati on 'hssntpdc'(Z:)".
to http://www.genpsy.unizh.ch/Ulf/Lab/webexplist.html and make a request
to add your experiment to the Web experiment list.
Buchanan, T., & Reips, U.-D.
(2001). Platform-dependent biases in Online Research: Do Mac users really think
different? In K. J. Jonas, P. Breuer, B. Schauenburg & M. Boos (Eds.), Perspectives
on Internet Research: Concepts and Methods.
[WWW document]. Available URL: http://www.gor.de/gor01/proceedings/
Frick, A., Bächtiger, M. T.,
& Reips, U.-D. (2001): Financial incentives, personal information and
drop-out in online studies. In U.–D. Reips & M. Bosnjak (Eds.), Dimensions
of Internet Science (pp. 209-220).
Reips, U.-D. (2000). The Web
Experiment Method: Advantages, disadvantages, and solutions. In M. H. Birnbaum
(Ed.), Psychological experiments on the Internet (pp. 89-118). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Reips, U.-D. (1997). Das
psychologische Experimentieren im Internet [Psychological experimenting on the
Internet]. In B. Batinic (Ed.), Internet für Psychologen [Internet for psychologists] (pp. 245-265).
Göttingen: Hogrefe. [Rev. Ed. in 2000]
Schwarz, S., & Reips, U.-D.
In U.–D. Reips & M. Bosnjak (Eds.), Dimensions of Internet Science (pp. 75-90). Lengerich: Pabst.