Hello there fellow online research enthusiasts,

This website is intended to be the web “homebase” of the Qualtrics Reaction Time Engine (QRTE for short). We hope this website will be your one-stop shop for everything QRTE-related. On this website, we hope to keep track of all publications made with the Engine and post tutorials and examples of both beginner and advanced techniques alike. Next to that, of course, we will provide the necessary components (the .js file and the parser) for you to successfully run your own experiments online.

The goal we had in mind when creating the Engine was to provide a highly reliable and precise method and framework for creating and running online behavioural research experiments. We combined the ease of use of the online survey platform Qualtrics (which allows free trial accounts) with new HTML5 techniques that allow for very precise timing of stimuli in JavaScript. And all that’s required to unlock these features in Qualtrics is to copy and paste a bunch of JavaScript/CSS code in a window and stick to a certain design pattern!

Our paper has been accepted for publication in the journal Behavior Research Methods and reports three experiments that, in combination with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, show the possibilities of online experimentation. With the last of those three experiments showing that the engine can even be used to study subliminal priming!

So what are you waiting for? Get started now!

– The QRTE Team

Barnhoorn, J., Haasnoot, E., Bocanegra, B.R., & van Steenbergen, H. (2014). QRTEngine: An easy solution for running online reaction time experiments using Qualtrics. Behavior Research Methods. PDF

About Erwin Haasnoot

Programmer of the QRTEngine, co-author of the QRTEngine paper, website administrator and really excited about possibilities of online experimentation.

8 thoughts on “Welcome

  1. Thank you for making QRTEngine available online!

    We recently made use of another Javascript library, which has been available at GitHub for some time now: https://github.com/jodeleeuw/jsPsych. Works smoothly, timing/precision seems great, experiments are easily created and well structured, and the library is currently at version 3.1 (see also http://www.jspsych.org/ and http://link.springer.com/article/10.3758%2Fs13428-014-0458-y – btw, I am not affiliated to jsPsych or its developers in any way).

    Just like QRTEngine, jsPsych can easily be inserted into Qualtrics – just add the library to your header section, hide a default blocks “next” button with JS , paste JS code defining an experiment into a text-question’s JS field, and save the results to a default qualtrics embedded data field (in JSON or CSV format). The special sauce to make it all work is really just the following few lines of code:

    on_finish: function(data) {

    // simulate click on Qualtrics "next" button
    var evt = document.createEvent("HTMLEvents");
    evt.initEvent("click", true, true);

    I am going post a short tutorial + example .qsf file on my blog later this week if anyone is interested.

    What is your teams point of view on the similarities/differences between jsPsych and QRTEngine?

    1. Hi Robin,

      Thanks for sharing this toolkit. We hadn’t heard of it before, so will take a look and get back to you on it!



    2. I’m the creator of jspsych. I’ve never integrated it directly with Qualtrics before, but I’m really intrigued by your solution. I’d love to add a pointer to your upcoming blog post / .qsf file in the jspsych documentation once you’ve got it ready. Feel free to email me if you want to discuss it further!

      One thing that QRTEngine seems to do better than jspsych is syncing with the display refresh cycle, which probably improves the precision of stimulus display timings, especially at very fast display intervals. I was unaware of the technique until I saw it in the paper describing QRTEngine. I’m planning on upgrading the jspsych code base to use the same approach that QRTEngine does when supported by the browser (with a nod to QRTEngine of course!).

  2. Hi Josh,

    Thank you for your reply – and thank you for making jsPsych available! Saved us so much work. Looking forward to your implementation of QRTEngine’s sync technique – it would enable us to make use of QRTEngine’s syncing method in our current experiments easily. I will let you know when my blog post is available – should just be a matter of a few days, at the most!

  3. Hi Josh,

    Thank you for your reply. We are in the process of writing a blog post on the differences between/similarities the QRTEngine and jsPsych, upon Robin’s request. Before publishing it on the website, we would like to run the text by you. We will e-mail you as soon as we get a draft finished, and to discuss other things :)



    1. Hi Erwin,

      Thank you for your extensive post! Very helpful indeed. Also great to see that both jsPsych and QRTEngine are under such active & inter-reactive development. My, less extensive, post on integration of jsPsych in Qualtrics should be up by tomorrow.

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