Getting Started

This walks you through some of the basic steps for collecting data on Meadows. If you get stuck have a look at the rest of the documentation, but if you feel like something is missing please contact us, we're always happy to help and develop new features.

Sign up

First up, create an account with us here. If you want to share your experiment with colleagues, we recommend creating an account with an ad-hoc shared email account.

Create an experiment

After logging in, you should see your user profile. This is where you'll see a list of the experiments you've designed. Click Create a new experiment, and give your experiment a name that sets it apart from your and other people's projects. You should also give it a short description as an introduction for your participants later, or for other researchers if you decide to make your experiment public.

Create a task

You should now see the design page for your experiment. Click on the Tasks tab, where you can arrange the components of your experiment, by adding various paradigms, forms and pages for your participants to go through one at a time. Add the first task by clicking Add a new task. Give it a name that distinguishes it from the other tasks in this experiment; it could be as simple as task1. Then pick the task design from the list. Every task has a question mark icon , click this to see the documentation page for that task type.
Try for example the Dragrate task. After you click Submit, you'll be looking at the design parameters for this task.

Select stimuli to display

Most projects on Meadows use some sort of "Stimulus", i.e. a media item that is seen or heard as part of the task, such as an image, video, sound or some text. On Meadows, a collection of these "Stimuli" is called a Stimulus Set. To select a Stimulus Set for your new task, navigate to the "Stimuli" tab. In the top section ("Source") you should see a "stimulus_set" option. Select "Google Noto". This is a public set of emoji images from Google. In the "sample" section, choose "random" and "5". On this tab you can choose other settings for the selection and presentation of stimuli. To use your own stimuli, see the section below on creating a Stimulus Set. For now press "Save" at the bottom of the page.

Preview: for your eyes only

This is a good moment to inspect your current design. On the right side of the page you should see a button Preview Task. Click this and you'll see your Dragrate task, just as your participant would see it. In the Dragrate task you rate each stimulus on two dimensions at the same time, by dragging each one to a location in the white rectangular arena on the left. The images you selected earlier are on the right. After you've dragged each stimulus into the arena, a button in the bottom toolbar lights up, to Finish the task.
This takes you to a screen where you can navigate to the task results, but for now head back to the design by clicking on the name of your experiment.

Add some instructions

In order to add the necessary instructions, add a new task, and choose the General Information task type. Here you can enter instructions for the participant, potentially accompanied by a schematic or example screenshot. After entering the text and saving the parameters, head back to the experiment overview by clicking on the Tasks tab. You'd want the participant to see the instructions first, so click on an empty arena of the new task's panel, and drag it up until it's at the top of the list, and release it. You've now changed the order of the tasks. Note that there is a similar task called Consent Form where the participant is required to check boxes to confirm their acceptance of your ethics terms.

Create your own Stimulus Set

If you have your own stimuli that you'd like to use, you can create a custom stimulus set. Click on your username at the top right to go back to your user profile. Then head to the "Stimulus Sets" tab. Here you should see a list of Stimulus Sets that you have access to; either because they are publicly available or because you own them. Click "Build new Stimulus Set", then choose a name. After confirming you should arrive at a page where you can edit the new set. Under Media you can add image, audio and video files, and under Text you can add character strings. After all images have finished uploading, remember to click Save at the bottom of the page to confirm your selection. If you'd like to use more than a few hundred stimuli, or a pre-existing stimulus set, get in touch with us, and we can make this process easier for you.

Store a version

With an eye on running your experiment on actual participants, when you don't want the design to change in the middle of it, you can lock the current design of your experiment into a Version. Once created, that version cannot be changed anymore. This means that even after several participants have completed your experiment, you can make changes, while still having access to the specific parameters of the version that those earlier participants saw.
Head to the Versions tab of your experiment. One version is currently listed, the special design version. It's the one you are currently browsing and the only one that can be changed. Note that the current version that you're inspecting is also specified in a panel next to the experiment's Preview button in the top-right.
Click Save the current version to create a new, static version based on the current design. It will automatically be named with a number, so the first one is called Version 1

Open up slots for participants

To limit the number of participants taking part in your experiment, you create slots for them. By default, an experiment does not have any open slots. Slots are created in Batches. We will now create a batch of slots, to enable some participants to take part in our new experiment. For this, we have to head to the Participants tab of the experiment version. The design version does not have this tab, so either make sure you are already browsing one of the saved versions, or go to the Versions tab and click the Recruit.. link on one of the versions. On the participants tab, you'll see a button Create new batch.. which opens a form to configure a new batch of participant slots. Read more about this form and how to integrate with recruitment services on the recruitment page. At the bottom of the form, select the number of slots. If you create 5 slots, only five participants can take part. Note that we charge an £0.08 fee per participant minute. The first 120 minutes per researcher are free. So if your experiment takes 30 minutes, the first 4 participants are free.
Please contact us to arrange payment. If you give us a heads-up when you start, we can invoice you after your experiment has finished.

Invite your participants

If you have created some open slots in the previous step, the batch displays the link to share with your participants. It has a button next to it which will copy the link. You can then send this URL to your participants. You can either send it to them through e-mail, or if you are using Amazon Mechanical Turk, or Prolific for recruitment, you can paste it into their respective forms. Find detailed guides for these platforms on the recruitment page

Keep track of participant progress and download results

At the bottom of the Participants tab you'll eventually also see a link to a page with a list of all participants. Each participant has a nickname of the form adjective-animal, for example purple-elephant. Click on the participant name to browse the results for this individual. You'll see a list of the tasks they participated in. Try clicking on a task, it will mention when the participant finished this task, and may include a visualization of their data. To download the results, click the download icon which will take you to a new page with several download options. You'll also find this icon on other levels, such as on the overview for all the participant's tasks, or the list of all participants. Read more on the downloads documentation page.