What software should I use for scheduling human subject experiments?
June 29, 2010 3:29 PM   Subscribe

What software should I use for scheduling human subject experiments?

I need to schedule seventy-five people into fifteen blocks (with five people per block). We'll probably have more than seventy-five candidates, but we only need seventy-five people. The person who did this last year emailed everyone, collated everyone's availability into a spreadsheet, and then manually assigned times. There must be a better way.

Can Google calendar handle this help with this? Searching MeFi turned up Tungle.me, ClickBook, and Genbook, but it’s not obvious to me if using these would actually be easier than just sticking everything in an excel or gdoc spreadsheet (or if these actually do what I’m looking for).

Ideally, the software would take a list of scheduling constraints and spit out a schedule that fills up all of our blocks. Failing that, it would be nice if it was possible to send out some link that people could use to register for whatever times are still available.
posted by suncoursing to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by slow graffiti at 3:49 PM on June 29, 2010

when2meet does this, sort of, though in reverse-- finds the time when the greatest number of people can attend.

Depending on your IRB, though, make sure whatever you use doesn't have people seeing other people's names. An easy way to accomplish this is to assign everyone a unique preliminary subject code and have them use that code when indicating availability.
posted by supercres at 4:14 PM on June 29, 2010

I recently had to schedule a meeting between a number of people who don't regularly interact and I've found doodle to be useful.

There's a way to hide each participant's response from everyone but the administrator of the doodle survey.
posted by scalespace at 5:34 PM on June 29, 2010

This might require some work from your part, but this is what people at my institution are using for scheduling the type of experiment you are describing:
ORSEE, the Online Recruitment System for Economic Experiments.

Another alternative is to use googledocs to construct a survey asking about their available or preferred times, so that when respondents complete the survey you will have the information in a googledocs spreadsheet. You might still need to do some collating by hand.

When I only needed to schedule one subject per slot I used appointment management software, such as TimeDriver. This worked really well, including automatically sending out reminder emails to subjects.
posted by needled at 6:08 PM on June 29, 2010

I have not tried this myself but I recently saw a link to this website: http://bookwhen.com/ and it seems like it might allow you to do what you need, particularly the booking X people into Y slot and then locking that slot automatically.
posted by marylynn at 4:45 PM on June 30, 2010

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