How to Conduct Behavioral Research over the Internet: A Beginner's Guide to HTML and CGI/Perl

Overview

Designed for researchers with no prior knowledge of programming or web site design, this is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to creating interactive behavioral research instruments online. With this volume, anyone can learn to write programs in HTML and CGI/Perl that will enable them to take full advantage of all the benefits of Internet-based data collection: the ability to effortlessly manipulate visual and narrative content, randomize the presentation order of stimuli, and provide customized assessments ...
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Overview

Designed for researchers with no prior knowledge of programming or web site design, this is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to creating interactive behavioral research instruments online. With this volume, anyone can learn to write programs in HTML and CGI/Perl that will enable them to take full advantage of all the benefits of Internet-based data collection: the ability to effortlessly manipulate visual and narrative content, randomize the presentation order of stimuli, and provide customized assessments and feedback for research participants. Including extensive examples throughout, the book explains everything from how to obtain access to a web server to mastering HTML coding, processing data with CGI/Perl, and importing data files into popular statistical packages. While the examples are from psychology, the technical skills the book provides can be adapted to other fields that make use of behavioral research.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Fraley's book is one-stop shopping for any behavioral scientist thinking of creating a website to collect data. The clear writing style, combined with numerous screenshots, tables, and worked-out examples, take the reader step-by-step from research idea to fully functioning website. The steps are so easy to follow that even novices will find it straightforward to apply the ideas to their own research questions. Unlike other books, Fraley's book has a practical focus, with detailed instructions on how to write CGI programs. Most important, it tells readers precisely how to tailor a website to meet their particular research needs. This book will be invaluable to researchers at all levels, whether they are starting from scratch or merely upgrading an existing site. Any behavioral scientist interested in using the Internet to gather data should keep this book within easy reach."--Sam Gosling, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin

"Fraley provides a well-organized, easy-to-follow primer for conducting scientific research over the Internet. This step-by-step guide to HTML and CGI/Perl programming makes the daunting and often confusing task of creating Web-based surveys and experiments easy and fun, even for the most timid of beginners. It will make an excellent addition to any research methods course. In short, this book is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in conducting social and behavioral research."--Katelyn McKenna, PhD, Department of Psychology, New York University

"If only this guide had been available when I began conducting psychological research with CGI scripts in the 1990s! What I learned how to do over months of painful trial and error, this book can help you master within a couple of weeks. Assuming no prior programming experience, Fraley teaches you in clear, simple steps absolutely everything you need to know about conducting Internet-based research. I heartily recommend this book to professionals who wish to begin conducting research on the Internet as well as instructors who wish to teach their students these skills. It is a real gift to the field."--John A. Johnson, PhD, Department of Psychology, Pennsylvania State University

"How to Conduct Behavioral Research over the Internet and its website contain the necessary detail to conduct this type of research. An impressive feature is that the book is comprehensible to those who have never written a webpage and to those who do not consider themselves programmers (almost all of us). Moreover, the book does not just show how to conduct surveys on the Internet, it provides details on how to conduct experiments. We learn how to randomize on the web and how to measure reaction times. Finally, the book has many useful hints to make the data analysis easier."--from the Foreword by David A. Kenny, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572309975
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/6/2004
  • Series: Methodology In The Social Sciences Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 299
  • Product dimensions: 7.24 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author


R. Chris Fraley received his PhD in social--personality psychology from the University of California, Davis. He conducts research on attachment theory and close relationships, personality development, and emotion regulation. He is currently Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois.
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Table of Contents


1. Introduction
2. Getting Started: A Step-by-Step Guide to Using a Web Server
3. HTML: How to Make a Web Page from Scratch
4. HTML Forms: Collecting Research Data from Participants via the Internet
5. An Introduction to CGI Scripting: Using Perl to Automatically Save Response Data to a File
6. Providing Customized Feedback to Research Participants
7. Randomizing the Order of Stimuli
8. Random Assignment of Participants to Conditions
9. Using Multiple Web Pages in Research: Carrying Responses Forward from One Page to the Next
10. Using Conditional Branching Structures: An Example of "Skip Patterns" in Survey Research
11. Advanced Feedback: Summarizing Data with Bar Graphs and Two-Dimensional Plots
12. Tracking Participants over Multiple Sessions: PINs, Passwords, and Completion Menus
13. Measuring Reaction Times
14. Additional Applications of Perl: Discussion Forums and Scored Tests
15. Wrapping It Up: Server Maintenance, Ethics, Security, Sampling
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