The State of Pilot Study Reporting in Crowdsourcing

A Reflection on Best Practices and Guidelines

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Pilot studies are an essential cornerstone of the design of crowdsourcing campaigns, yet they are often only mentioned in passing in the scholarly literature. A lack of details surrounding pilot studies in crowdsourcing research hinders the replication of studies and the reproduction of findings, stalling potential scientific advances. We conducted a systematic literature review on the current state of pilot study reporting at the intersection of crowdsourcing and HCI research. Our review of ten years of literature included 171 articles published in the proceedings of the Conference on Human Computation and Crowdsourcing (AAAI HCOMP) and the ACM Digital Library. We found that pilot studies in crowdsourcing research (i.e., crowd pilot studies) are often under-reported in the literature. Important details, such as the number of workers and rewards to workers, are often not reported. On the basis of our findings, we reflect on the current state of practice and formulate a set of best practice guidelines for reporting crowd pilot studies in crowdsourcing research. We also provide implications for the design of crowdsourcing platforms and make practical suggestions for supporting crowd pilot study reporting.