Linking CloudResearch and AWS accounts

For the studies you set up on CloudResearch to be launched on Mechanical Turk, you need an Amazon Mechanical Turk Requester account and a CloudResearch account that are linked through MTurk’s application programming interface (API). As part of setting up your MTurk Requester account and linking it to CloudResearch, you will also create an Amazon Web Services (AWS) account.

In the steps below, we describe how to set up and link your accounts so you can manage MTurk studies from the CloudResearch dashboard.

  • Create accounts for CloudResearch, Mechanical Turk Requester, and Amazon Web Services.

If you haven’t already, you should create a CloudResearch account. Then, create a Mechanical Turk requester account and an Amazon Web Services (AWS) account.

  • Link your AWS account with your MTurk Requester account.

Linking your MTurk Requester account to an AWS account allows you to get more out of MTurk by accessing Amazon’s programmatic features available through the API. In simpler terms, linking these accounts allows you to issue command line code to MTurk. Doing so automates tasks that are repetitive and provides much more flexibility in running HITs than MTurk’s graphical user interface (i.e., the point and click system available on MTurk).

To link your MTurk account to an AWS account return to the Amazon Mechanical Turk Developer page. Then, complete Step 2 on the page: Link Your AWS account with Your MTurk Requester Account, by clicking the Link your AWS Account button. You will be asked to login with your AWS login credentials.

After you log in, select the option to Link This Account. If your AWS and MTurk Requester accounts were successfully linked, you will see a message on the next page saying so. You are done with Step 2.

Link your AWS Account button on the MTurk Developer page


After logging in with your AWS credentials, click Link This Account.

Link This Account button to get started as Amazon MTurk Developer


After successfully linking your AWS and MTurk Requester accounts you should see this message.

Accounts successfully linked notification on screen


NOTE: You can pay for MTurk studies by purchasing "prepaid HITs" or opting into AWS Billing. When you turn AWS Billing on, Amazon will examine your account and assign you a spending limit. While this assessment is taking place, you may not be able to launch any studies. All questions about spending limits and the review process should be directed to Mechanical Turk.

  • Register for the MTurk Developer Sandbox mode.

Sandbox mode allows you to develop studies in test mode without actually launching them.

At this point, Amazon will direct you to the Developer page so you can proceed to Step 3. Click the Register for the Requester Sandbox button. You will be asked to login with your credentials again. After logging in, enter your contact information. Once you click continue at the bottom of the page, you will be registered for the MTurk Sandbox. 

  • Create an Identity and Access Management (IAM) user and give this user permission to access the MTurk API from your account.

An IAM user within your AWS account helps your AWS account communicate with MTurk. To create the IAM user follow the steps below.

  1. Go to and sign in using your login credentials.
  2. From the dashboard, choose Add user.
    knowledge base_linking accounts_[setting up AWS user]_1.04.2021
  3. On the following page, enter a user name into the user name box.
  4. Below the “Select AWS access type section”, select programmatic access.
  5. Choose Next Permissions to move to the next page. 

Now, that you have an IAM user, you need to grant the user permission to communicate with the MTurk API. To do this, follow the steps below.

  1. Select Attach existing policies directly.
    Select Attach Existing Policies Directly button
  2. Once the page loads, you will see a long list of “policies” that you can add to your IAM user. You need to check the policy named: AmazonMechanicalTurkFullAccess. The easiest way to find this policy is using the search bar.
    amazon mturk full access policy
  3. Once you’ve selected the AmazonMechanicalTurkFullAccess policy, select Next: Review.
  4. Review the information and then select Create user.
    create user

If successful, you should see a Success message along with information about your Access Key ID and Secret access key credentials. You need these credentials to connect CloudResearch with MTurk. Importantly, this is the only time these credentials will be displayed to you. Make sure you save them somewhere safe.


  • Link your CloudResearch account with MTurk
  1. Log into CloudResearch using your credentials.
  2. In the upper right corner, hover over the user icon and in the dropdown list select Link Mechanical Turk.

HeaderNavigation_[mechanical turk account]_12.17.2020

Scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your Access Key ID and Secret Access Key into the empty boxes - to avoid typing errors, you may copy and paste the access key. Then, click Submit.


If you were successful, you should see a Success message. Your accounts are now linked and you’re ready to run studies!