Using to build online studies – Københavns Universitet

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Using to build (complex R-driven) online studies with personalised feedback


Dr. Ruben Arslan (developer of, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin (Germany)


Tuesday, January 16, and Wednesday, January 17 2018; both days 09.00-16.00


The Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen, Øster Farimagsgade 2A, 2nd floor, room 03-2-M202, Copenhagen.

Description: is a free open source software for online studies. Because R can be called at any step from formr, all sorts of complex study designs are possible. Key features include the automatization of reminders for repeated surveys on computers and smartphones and the automatic generation of personalised graphical feedback.

In the workshop, we will learn workflows for collaboratively designing, testing, debugging, managing, and documenting studies. We can discuss how to design simple surveys, longitudinal studies, experience sampling or diary studies, dyadic and social network designs, peer ratings, and reaction time data. If there’s interest, we can choose to discuss connecting to external data collection platforms, using jsPsych to collect reaction time and experimental data, and designing adaptive cognitive tests in formr.

On the first day, we will learn how to design studies in formr, starting simple, and then proceeding to debugging and managing more complex studies. You will learn how to manage contact with your participants and to navigate thorny issues around privacy and anonymity while maintaining contact with participants. In the late afternoon, I will assist you in implementing existing or planned projects.

On the second day, we will focus on getting your data from formr into R using the formr and codebook R packages. formr automates the generation of study codebooks, including reversing items, aggregating scales and computing reliabilities. It can then export marked up data to SPSS, Stata, and similar software. You can also learn how to easily make reproducible websites using R to document your study analyses and share results with co-authors. In this part, you will need to make baby steps using the tools RStudio, Github, and the Open Science Framework.


PhD students and members of the Department of Psychology can participate in this seminar. The entire seminar is held in English. A maximum of 30 participants will be allowed in this course.

  • Up to 30 participants
  • Bring a laptop. The platform is web-based, but to speed things up, you can sign up at for an admin account before using the token code havfrue2018
  • It helps if you have a current version of R and RStudio installed. A list of instructions can be found here:
  • I’ll update it with solutions to problems you encounter (if anyone does)
  • Please fill out this short survey if you plan to take part.
  • On the homepage you can find an extensive list of supported study designs and features. Ideally, you’ll check beforehand whether the things you plan can be done using formr. If it’s not clear from the homepage, contact me (
  • Basic knowledge of R is helpful, but not required at all. You don’t need to use R for analysing the data collected using formr.
  • If you’re currently planning or implementing a study, you’ll get the most out of this workshop.
  • We won’t discuss the basics of survey and item design.
  • PhD students get 1 ECTS when attending on Tuesday only, and 2 ECTS when attending on both days


Please register for the course here.