Running web-based experiments is a great way for researchers to conduct studies without having participants necessarily be physically present in a lab. These web-based experiments run in the participant’s own web-browser—optionally full-screen—and can take the form of practically any type of computer-based task.
Gorilla, Pavlovia and JATOS are examples of platforms built to facilitate the execution of online studies. They provide a user-friendly interface and workflow for creating web-based experiments, hosting those experiments and the data they generate, and recruiting participants. Depending on the platform used, the web-based tasks can be built in the platform itself, or using standard experiment-building software; such as, OpenSesame, jsPsych, lab.js, and PsychoPy.
For a full overview of software built for online studies and the issues associated with them, please refer to this article.
SOLO makes a JATOS instance available at no cost to researchers, and can offer limited technical support in building and running JATOS studies, as well as post-processing the data it generates. For more information, see the SOLO JATOS server page.
Gorilla is an easy-to-use platform for both hosting and building online studies. It offers: a fully graphical experiment-builder; powerful scripting; tools for creating questionnaire and surveys; a large collection of examples; and great documentation, including video tutorials.
SOLO has a department account for Gorilla and can provide FSW researchers with tokens. Please enquire via: email@example.com.
Pavlovia is a platform for hosting, sharing and running online studies. It does not feature a built-in experiment-builder, but experiments can be created in PsychoPy, lab.js or jsPsych and uploaded to it.
SOLO currently has an unlimited-usage site-license for Pavlovia, and any accounts registered to @fsw.leidenuniv.nl, @umail.leidenuniv.nl, @fgga.leidenuniv.nl and @hum.leidenuniv.nl will automatically be granted access to the subscription. For more information, please mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
JATOS, Pavlovia and Gorilla have both overlapping features and unique use-cases. This section presents a concise outline of the main reasons to use a particular platform.
Use JATOS when:
- You have experience with OpenSesame and want to use it to build your experiment, or you have a pre-built OpenSesame experiment you want to convert for online use.
- You want to build multi-participant interactive tasks, such as a prisoner's dilemma game.
- GDPR considerations require you to store the data you collect internally; i.e. on a server owned and managed by the Leiden University.
Use Pavlovia when:
- You have experience with PsychoPy and want to use it to build your experiment.
- You can make do without technical support from SOLO.
Use Gorilla when:
- You have experience with Gorilla or have found a preexisting Gorilla experiment that you want to run; or modify and run.
- You want a super easy-to-use platform with integrated experiment-building and survey/questionnaire tools.
- You are fine with your experiment being forever locked-in to the Gorilla platform; experiments built in Gorilla cannot be exported and run without a Gorilla license.
- You do NOT intent to collect data from a large number of participants (>>500). This is due to Gorilla being a pay-per-participant service, unlike JATOS (free) and Pavlovia (flat fee).
Don't run web-based experiments when:
- Your experiment needs to connect to hardware (e.g. when recording physiological data).
- You require millisecond accuracy.
Note: when creating experiments for online studies that you intend to convert for use in a physiology lab, SOLO suggests using OpenSesame.