Internet-based ability testing

Online Behavioral ResearchReference. Schroeders, U., Wilhelm, O., & Schipolowski, S. (2010). Internet-based ability testing. In S. D. Gosling, & J. A. Johnson (Eds.), Advanced methods for behavioral research on the Internet (pp. 131–148). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Abstract. Compared with traditional paper-and-pencil-tests (PPTs), Internet-based ability testing (IBAT) seems to offer a plethora of advantages-cost-effective data collection 24/7 from all over the world, enriching static content by implementing audio and video, registering auxiliary data such as reaction times, and storing data at some central location in a digital format-all this seems like the fulfillment of a researcher’s dream. However, despite these auspicious possibilities, the dream can rapidly dissolve if the accompanying constraints and limitations of testing via the Internet are neglected. This chapter focuses on ways to effectively use the Internet for ability testing and on procedures that might help overcome the inherent shortcomings of the medium. Wherever possible, we highlight how to minimize the adverse effects and provide practical advice to improve Web-based measures. We offer a detailed step-by-step guide that helps structure the entire testing process-from the definition of the construct being assessed through the presentation of the findings. At the end of each step, we present an example of our own ongoing research that illustrates how to implement the step. Specifically, we show that IBAT can be used as a method to quickly gather information about characteristics of a measure in an early stage of the development. We hope to provide information that helps you to decide which kinds of ability tests can be administered via the Internet and for which purposes, and we give practical advice on how to implement your own test on the Internet. For an easy start, the provided code can be easily altered to meet specific needs. We also list links to detailed information on PHP, a powerful programming language enabling researchers to use the whole functionality of a pc, for example, video streaming (see Additional Resources A, C). Drawbacks of IBAT might be a lack of experimental control with regard to individual differences in motivation and time-allocation, respectively, or inscrutable distortions due to self-selection processes. Also, programming an online measure can be quite time consuming. But once you overcome or know how to tackle these obstacles, IBAT is a powerful tool for collecting data independent of time and geographic constraints.