Remote Testing Wiki
Welcome to the Wiki home of the Task Force on Remote Testing, an initiative of the Technical Committee on Psychological and Physiological Acoustics (PP) of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA). The task force was initiated by ASA PP during Spring 2020 with the goals of identifying and coordinating information on the impacts of remote testing, which became particularly acute during the COVID-19 Pandemic. At that time, quarantine and social-distancing recommendations began to limit opportunities for in-lab data collection with human research participants. Thus, a major focus of the task force has been to gather information about approaches to data collection outside the lab, for example in participants’ own homes, during the pandemic. At the same time, we recognize other potential advantages of remote testing, such as large-N studies and access to special populations, which transcend pandemic-specific impacts. Thus, a broader goal has been to gather and present information relevant to future attempts to collect data outside the laboratory, e.g. "flipping the lab," studies of perception in natural settings, kiosk- and web-based surveys, telehealth, etc.
As an initiative of the ASA PP, the main focus of task-force activities (and the contents of this wiki) is primarily on human-subjects research on psychological acoustics: i.e., auditory perception, audiology, hearing, and speech perception. Some of the information gathered here is also relevant to research on language, cognition, non-auditory (e.g. visual and multisensory) perception, physiological acoustics, neuroscience, and telehealth. See Resources for links to other online resources focused more directly on those and other aspects of remote testing.
Major goals of the task force are fourfold: (1) identify and compare potential approaches to remote testing, including available hardware/software platforms for both online/web-based and portable/"take-home" research; (2) provide a means for investigators to share their experiences; (3) describe the numerous issues, challenges, and opportunities–i.e. questions investigators should consider–affecting remote testing for psychological and physiological acoustics. Ultimately, we aim to (4) distill these questions and experiences into guidelines or recommendations that could be used to identify best practices. Not all of these goals are addressable at this time. Many remote-testing studies remain in very early stages, so that outcomes, successes, and failures cannot be described or shared. Thus, we currently lack the evidence base to identify and prescribe best practices or formal guidelines, although informal recommendations can certainly be gleaned from preliminary experiences.
For these and other reasons, the task force has elected to present information in the form of a Wiki, which can be amended and updated as new information is obtained and as new approaches are identified or developed. This Wiki is a "living document" that may contain occasional inaccuracies and lack critical details about important topics. Readers are highly encouraged to provide feedback, corrections, and new information where available. There are numerous ways to provide such information, including online survey tools which are described in the relevant Wiki sections. But please don’t hesitate to reach out directly via the email links available on the Task Force page.
Initial efforts of the task force are captured across major areas of this Wiki:
- Issues and Best Practices
- This section presents a hyperlinked discussion of issues and considerations for remote testing, for example, discussions of recruiting and administrating participants, stimulus presentation and calibration, data handling, etc. Guidelines for peer review and identifying best practices are also discussed.
- This section presents, in tabular form, the results of surveying a wide range of hardware/software and online platforms for remote testing. These include commercial, non-commercial, open-source, and custom (lab-developed) approaches. Browser-, tablet-, and desktop- based solutions are reviewed. This section also includes instructions for adding new platforms or describing new features via the online Platform Survey tool developed by the task force.
- Examples, Case Studies, Tutorials
- A modestly organized section include accounts of various projects, studies, and solutions reported by various investigators. Readers are strongly encouraged to submit additional reports, at any level of detail, for inclusion in this section.
- This section includes links to other resources, including publications, websites, developers, and other organizations involved in remote testing.
- Frequently-asked questions. Also includes a table with guidance for selecting a platform or approach for a new study.
- Information about the task force, its membership, and ways to get in contact.