Autism and online recruiting methods: A comparison of Mechanical Turk and discussion forums

Amelia Anderson, Nancy Everhart, Juliann Woods


In a study by a team at the intersection of information and communication sciences and disorders, researchers worked to design an interactive, online professional development system for academic librarians to better serve students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In creating this program, it was imperative to have stakeholder input and support; recruiting members of this population, students with ASD, was critical. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and online discussion forums, including Reddit, were used for recruitment for an online survey. While there was some overlap in results, there were also marked differences in responses based on online sampling frame. This paper details the online methods used for recruiting members of this community, and compares and contrasts success rates, challenges, and numbers associated with each method.


MTurk; Reddit; recruiting; autism

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