Statistics modules in psychology typically teach about experimental designs, but not how to create them. For those interested in research, then, it is important to learn software for creating and designing experiments. This post will cover four software that may be useful for research purposes: three for creating and administering experimental designs, and one for analysing qualitative data.
Inquisit is a tool for designing and administering psychological tests and experiments. It has a Lab and Web version, which you can administer via local computers or remotely over the web respectively.
Even though Inquisit is a paid software, they have a 30-day free trial for you to test out their software. In addition, they have a test library that allows you to download many cognitive and neuropsychological paradigms to use for free (even with the free trial). However, if you’d like to make adjustments to the preset paradigms, you would need to learn how to edit the script.
Using Inquisit Web on a smartphone
Another advantage is that you can interoperate cognitive tasks from Inquisit Web with other survey sites such as Qualtrics, Mechanical Turk, and more--allowing for smooth transition between the survey and cognitive tasks. Visit their website to find out more: https://www.millisecond.com/
PsychoPy is an open source (free!) software for creating and running neuroscience, psychology, and psychophysics experiments. It is written in the Python programming language (hence, the name PsychoPy).
It has a Builder interface that allows you to build experiments without programming experience, and a Coder interface which you can use to create more complex designs by editing the scripts. (As they emphasize on their website, “the best of both worlds!”)
Builder interface for PsychoPy
Coder interface for PsychoPy
See their website for more details: http://www.psychopy.org/
E-Prime is a software for behavioural research that allows users to create experimental designs and collect the data obtained from these experiments.
One of the major advantages of E-Prime is that it does not require programming knowledge to create experimental designs (although you can edit the script). It also has a simple user interface where users can drag and drop objects to create their experiments.
However, E-Prime is a paid software so some may prefer to opt for free software like PsychoPy (which has quite similar capabilities but for free). To find out more about E-Prime: https://pstnet.com/products/e-prime/
NVivo is a software for qualitative and mixed methods research. It can be used to organise and analyse unstructured text, audio, and image data--from interviews, focus groups, surveys, social media, journal articles, or more.
For those interested in thematic analysis, NVivo can help to identify the key words and its frequencies in your text, as well as the connections between the underlying themes and patterns in this text. Thus, NVivo is a useful software to try out if you are interested in qualitative analysis.
Learn more about NVivo here: https://www.qsrinternational.com/nvivo/home
Among these softwares, Inquisit is a useful tool if you are looking to incorporate cognitive tasks with surveys via Inquisit Web. Furthermore, it has a database for many different types of paradigms, which would be useful and require less effort if you do not plan to edit the original paradigm. On the other hand, E-Prime is relatively easier to use if you plan to create an experimental paradigm from scratch. However, compared to both softwares, PsychoPy is free. The Builder interface for PsychoPy is also somewhat similar to E-Prime. Lastly, NVivo would be useful for qualitative research.