The third step in setting up your study is describing your HIT. How you describe your HIT and the instructions you give to workers are important, so it pays to take the time to describe your study properly.
To describe your HIT properly, first give it a title. The HIT title will be displayed to workers so it is important to consider how different HIT titles might affect workers. As a best practice, we recommend generic HIT titles such as, “psychology survey” or “public health study.” Generic titles let workers know they will be asked to fill out questionnaires and to participate in a typical academic study on MTurk without giving enough information to introduce self-selection bias.
Next, you can provide workers with a brief description of what they will be asked to do. The description you provide is only visible on the worker's dashboard and not in the HIT preview window. For this reason most details about the study’s procedure and any specific instructions or disclosures should be included in the instructions field and not as part of the study’s description. Like the title, we recommend a description that is generic enough so as not to introduce self-selection bias (e.g., “This study contains survey questions about your attitudes and preferences”).
The information in the instructions field is what workers will see if they choose to preview your HIT from the dashboard. Describing your HIT correctly here both in terms of the time it takes and what the procedure is like has a significant impact on whether or not a worker will accept and complete the HIT.
If a study requires extra effort or anything out of the ordinary, it is important to include a description of what participants will be expected to do in the instructions box. Workers should be given enough information to decide whether the HIT is something they want to do before they accept it. Examples of things that should be disclosed to workers include:
- Being asked to download an app or file
- If the study requires lots of open-ended writing
- If tasks in the study are overly tedious
- If the study collects potentially sensitive personal information
- When the study involves audio of video recording of responses
While it is important to give workers information, at the same time, instructions should not be too complicated. It is best to present instructions simply and in bullet point form, if possible. For studies that use external survey platforms like Qualitrics, the instructions should also indicate that workers need to enter a secret code in the secret code window.
Adding keywords to your HIT is optional. While keywords may help workers find your HIT, research indicates that workers mostly search studies based on price and recency.
The last step in describing your HIT is indicating whether it contains potentially explicit or offensive content. If your study asks workers to look at graphic images or evaluate potentially offensive content, you should warn workers by checking this box.