Jul 06, 2018
Have you ever wanted to conduct online human subject research? Have you ever wished academics and startups were better at providing tools to improve our health, decision making and wellbeing? Have you wanted to understand how it is that we think and how we change our minds? Have you ever tried to conduct a study and realised how hard it is to get quality data? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these, then we hope you’ll read ahead to learn how you can help us in our efforts to make conducting research easier and more impactful.
If you’ve been in the Effective Altruism community over the past couple of years, you’ve probably heard Spencer Greenberg (e.g. on the 80,000 Hours or Rationally Speaking podcasts, EAG talks, etc.) mention the types of online research that he and the Spark Wave team are doing in the areas of depression, anxiety & stress, decision making & reasoning, cognitive psychology, habit formation, and product idea validation (to mention just a few).
You may have thought, “I wish it was easier to conduct this kind of impactful research.” If this sounds like you, then you’re in luck. We’ve spent the last year refining and extending our tool (Positly) to help researchers recruit and manage relevant study participants. Now we’re opening it up to external researchers while we continue to improve and transform this platform to make a big difference.
Our mission at Positly is to dramatically improve the speed, quality and affordability of social science, product, and human subject research.
“I had to run a dozen small online experiments in a few months to finish my dissertation. With Positly, each study took less than 5 minutes to launch and I always got my data on the same day.” – Daniel Greene, doctoral candidate, Stanford University Graduate School of Education
"I loved using Positly. It made my multi-stage study way easier and saved me several hours of fiddly busywork. I would definitely recommend it to anyone doing online research!" – Eric Gastfriend, CEO of DynamiCare Health, Founder of the Harvard University Effective Altruism Student Group and Philanthropy Advisory Fellowship
“Positly is a wonderful tool to recruit participants for online studies in an efficient way. It is easier to use than the alternatives and offers all the features I need.” Lucius Caviola, PhD student at Oxford University, Co-founder of Effective Altruism Foundation
"It's simple, elegant, fast, and a game-changer for social science. I've had three hundred responses in less than an hour. My days of hunting for participants are over - now I won't use anything else." – Peter Brietbart, CEO, MindEase
“I get quality results incredibly fast. It's both simple to use and highly customizable. I rave about it to everyone I know conducting research.” – Aislinn, Product Manager, UpLift
While we think that Positly can benefit people in many disciplines across the globe, at this stage we are especially interested in helping the EA community. Our team is focused on using quality data and solid reasoning to make decisions so that we could deepen our understanding of psychology through rapid, high quality research studies. This is something that aligns very well with the EA community. We’ve already worked with many people in the EA community and we want to keep expanding our collaboration.
Right now we want to help EA organisations conduct research, help EA founders build successful companies (by conducting high quality research studies on their target markets), and help individual researchers focus on their core work instead of fussing around with recruiting and managing participants.
Modelling human values (e.g. understanding the relative weights of future lives, different species etc)
Marketing and communications (e.g. communicating cause areas and EA convincingly, pre-testing blog posts or videos for movement building – all with high fidelity)
Consumer acceptance/market testing (e.g. clean/plant-based meat products, effective donation platforms)
Policy research (e.g. asking people about their values around employment and meaning when facing increasing automation/intelligence explosion)
User experience testing (e.g. launching new apps or websites)
Figuring out people's intrinsic values
Helping people sleep better (with a new intervention)
Helping people better achieve their goals (using a range of proven techniques)
Helping people better form good habits (using techniques that actually work to help people succeed at forming new daily habits)
Carrying out user testing
Figuring out product-market fit
Make better decisions
Have improved mental health
Get along better
Live happier and more fulfilling lives
Become more productive
Become less biased
Become more altruistic
Expand their moral circle
If any of this sounds like the kind of work you do (or want to do), we invite you to get in touch as we’d be thrilled to help you and would love your feedback.
Even if you don’t need help with any of the above areas we would still love to hear constructive feedback. We'd greatly appreciate if you would share Positly with other researchers and research groups so we can continue to help the EA community, improve the direct and indirect impact of our work, and improve our platform.
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All our best,
Positly helps researchers recruit and manage relevant study participants for their research. Our goal is to dramatically improve the speed, quality and affordability of research. Read how Positly compares to other recruitment methods.
Spencer is the President of Positly and CEO of Spark Wave. Spencer is the founder of many companies including Spark Wave (a startup foundry that creates new software companies to help solve big problems).
Luke is the CEO of Positly. Luke has worked in technology and marketing across multiple industries for a decade and a half. Most recently he was on the team that founded Sendle (Australia’s first technology B-Corp and multi-award winning carbon-neutral delivery service) and saw the company through series A funding to become Australia’s top rated delivery service.