Zhubajie/Witmart and other online crowdsourcing platforms have proliferated in China, and researchers have increasingly used them for subject recruitment. One critical question remains, however: what is the generalizability of the findings based on these online samples? In this study, we benchmark the demography of an online sample from Zhubajie to nationally representative samples and replicate commonly asked attitudinal questions in national surveys. We find that online respondents differ from the general population in many respects. Yet, the differences become smaller when comparison is made with the internet users in benchmark surveys. Importantly, when predicting attitudes, our online sample with post-stratification weights is able to produce similar coefficients in most cases as these internet-active subsamples. Our study suggests that online crowdsourcing platforms can be a useful tool for subject recruitment, especially when researchers are interested in making inferences about Chinese netizens. We further analyze the political and social desirability issues of online subjects. Finally, we discuss caveats of using crowdsourcing samples in China.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Public Administration
- Political Science and International Relations