Online collection of experimental data is becoming increasingly common in linguistics and other fields, and allows for rapid collection of large amounts of data, speeding up behavioral research and pre-testing, e.g., for acquisition or neuroscience studies. However, experiment implementation options are largely quite limited in what they can do, or very expensive, resulting in many researchers creating their own code for custom-solutions.

Ibex is a free, javascript-based platform for running experiments online, developed by Alex Drummond to conduct common text-based, psycho-linguistic tasks, including self-paced reading and rating studies. PennController is an extension library developed by Jeremy Zehr within a project in Florian Schwarz’s lab. It provides a versatile and user-friendly tool to implement more complex experimental task paradigms, with a wide range of dynamic and interactive features (e.g., visual stimuli, flexible, multi-stage trial structure, response feedback, scripted/ timed events, playing audio and video).

PennController uses a stream-lined code interface requiring no javascript skills. It allows you to combine your own task template with a spreadsheet providing item-specific information. Combined with the free hosting offered by Ibexfarm and templates that can be directly imported from github, posting simple experiments online just takes a few simple steps.