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BPS Cog­ni­tive Psy­chol­o­gy Sec­tion: Help­ing Researchers Take Exper­i­ments Online
Has your research stalled?

Find out how researchers have lib­er­at­ed their lab with rapid project grants!

The past year has been a dif­fi­cult time for behav­iour­al sci­ence research. No longer being able to work face-to-face with par­tic­i­pants meant a lot of research was put on hold until new plans were cre­at­ed. Many researchers and stu­dents have suc­cess­ful­ly moved their exper­i­ments online, enabling them to con­tin­ue col­lect­ing data in a safe and secure manner.

Tight sched­ules and small bud­gets mean that post­grad­u­ate research stu­dents have been hit par­tic­u­lar­ly hard by the pandemic.

Rapid project grants

To get researchers up and run­ning again, sev­er­al rapid grants have been cre­at­ed. For exam­ple, the British Psy­cho­log­i­cal Society’s (BPS) Cog­ni­tive Psy­chol­o­gy Sec­tion cre­at­ed a Post­grad­u­ate Rapid Project Grant. This is specif­i­cal­ly designed to help post­grad­u­ate researchers who had to make unex­pect­ed changes to their research projects as a result of the pan­dem­ic. This grant pro­vid­ed researchers with up to £400 to help cover costs with mov­ing research online, mak­ing them per­fect for pur­chas­ing Gorilla tokens and cov­er­ing par­tic­i­pant payment.

Suc­cess stories

Sev­er­al grant win­ners have taken research online with Gorilla, here are their stories…

How would you explain your cur­rent research topic in a cou­ple of sentences?

My research inves­ti­gates indi­vid­ual dif­fer­ences in children’s lan­guage acqui­si­tion, and I am inter­est­ed in find­ing out how the speed of autom­a­ti­za­tion pre­dicts dif­fer­ences in children’s lin­guis­tic abil­i­ty. I am par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ed in learn­ing more about lan­guage dif­fi­cul­ties expe­ri­enced by chil­dren with devel­op­men­tal lan­guage dis­or­der (DLD) and I hope that my research find­ings will enable us to devel­op sup­port­ing ther­a­pies for chil­dren with DLD.


Why did you decide to use Gorilla for this research?

I had been plan­ning an online exper­i­men­tal task and after attend­ing the BeOn­line con­fer­ence in March 2020, I decid­ed to use Gorilla. I was very impressed with the ease of design­ing my task as well as the sup­port from the script­ing team for more advanced cod­ing. Gorilla is a very pro­fes­sion­al inter­face, and our lab is now using Gorilla for all our online research.


What piece of advice would you give to other post­grad­u­ate stu­dents look­ing to take their research online?

  1. Pilot your study exten­sive­ly before launch­ing it online.
  2. Con­sid­er the types of devices that peo­ple may use to run your study, for exam­ple, can the study be adapt­ed to tablet/mobile phone as well as laptop/computer?

Any final thoughts you’d like to share?

Mov­ing my research online has had a num­ber of pos­i­tive ben­e­fits as it meant that I could con­tin­ue with my research dur­ing the pan­dem­ic and it also enabled me to reach a wide group of par­tic­i­pants with­out the lim­i­ta­tions of trav­el. I have been able to adver­tise my research through­out the Unit­ed King­dom and have real­ly enjoyed meet­ing chil­dren and their par­ents from all over the country.


Ash­ley Blake, Uni­ver­si­ty of Birmingham


How would you explain your cur­rent research topic in a cou­ple of sentences?

My doc­tor­al research is inves­ti­gat­ing the effects of emoji on dif­fer­ent stages of tex­tu­al infor­ma­tion pro­cess­ing in human par­tic­i­pants, rang­ing from the early phas­es of visu­al atten­tion (e.g., gaze behav­iour dur­ing read­ing) to the later points of mem­o­ry encod­ing and retrieval. The grant received by the BPS Cog­ni­tive Sec­tion was used to fund an exper­i­ment exam­in­ing the lat­ter on the effects of emoji on mem­o­ry recall.


Why did you decide to use Gorilla for this research?

Gorilla was ini­tial­ly rec­om­mend­ed to me by a col­league, so I decid­ed to try it. After a few days of use, I found it had a great bal­ance between its ease of use dur­ing exper­i­ment build­ing, its capac­i­ty for build­ing com­plex tasks in a short peri­od of time, and its level of pre­ci­sion dur­ing task pre­sen­ta­tion that is lack­ing in many alter­na­tive builders.


What piece of advice would you give to other post­grad­u­ate stu­dents look­ing to take their research online?

Make sure the soft­ware, tools, and tasks you are plan­ning to apply in your research are appro­pri­ate for the online envi­ron­ment, and if not, be flex­i­ble and do not be afraid to seek out alternatives.


Chris Robus, Uni­ver­si­ty of Bedfordshire

What’s next?

Are you inspired? The next round of the BPS Cog­ni­tive Psy­chol­o­gy Section’s Post­grad­u­ate Rapid Project Grant is open for appli­ca­tions now! The clos­ing date is Fri­day 12th March 2021, so you still have time to start your online research journey.

If you apply and are suc­cess­ful, please do get in touch and tell me more about your research at [email protected]

Ash­leigh Johnstone

Ash­leigh is a recent PhD grad­u­ate now work­ing for Gorilla Exper­i­ment Builder who are rev­o­lu­tion­is­ing online behav­iour­al sci­ence in acad­e­mia and beyond. After writ­ing and sub­mit­ting her the­sis dur­ing the pan­dem­ic, she is on a per­son­al mis­sion to ensure no stu­dent gets left behind this year.