Walkthrough: My First Research Project DCAL


Research in DCAL allows you to administer the available tests on DCAL to a number of participants and analyse their collected data.

An example of where this might be useful is if you want to see whether children from a certain area have the same average speechreading skill as the children in the wider UK.

By the end of this Walkthrough, you should be able to create a project, invite participants, test them, and download their data.

We recommend you go through this Walkthrough step-by-step.

Access to the Test

To run tests on participants in DCAL, you need to first gain access to the test you wish to use.

To do this, go to the Tests menu, select the test, and then click Apply to use this test.


A pop up will appear with the fields ‘Please describe how you are planning to use this test’, ‘Please state your profession/research field’ and ‘Do you plan to use the test outside the UK?’.

Fill in these fields, and then click Submit.

Please note: None of these tests can be used outside the UK.

DCAL will endeavour to process your request quickly, but we recommend you submit your request well in advance of first use. Once you have access to the test, you should not need to request access again.


Each use of a test costs Tokens. These tokens are consumed when a participant is added, so to add participants to a research project, you must have enough Tokens.

Most tests cost 10 tokens.

You can buy tokens through the shop…..

Create a Project

To create a project, go to the researcher tools, and click the button in the right-hand corner labelled Create New.

A pop up will appear with the fields Project Name and Purpose.

Enter a relevant name, then select whether you’d like to create a Research Project or a Teaching Demo.

Research Projects are the typical use case. They collect demographics from participants, as well as task data.

Teaching Demos are designed for teaching or demonstrating the tests. As such, they collect no demographics information. However, consent still must be given.

Press Next. You will then be asked to select which test you’d like to collect data from. Select the tests and click Next.

A popup will appear telling you how many tokens each participant will cost you. The tokens required to run each participant will be same regardless of whether you have set up a teaching demo or a research project.

Add Participants

You can upload participants in one of two different ways: in bulk or individually.

To upload a single participant:

  1. Click on the Add Participants button, then Single
  1. Enter a unique participant ID e.g. 101
  1. Enter their email address (if not administering in person). Click Next.
  2. A message will appear informing you that this will require tokens. Click Confirm, then Finish.

To upload a group of participants:

  1. Click on the Add Participants button, then Multiple
  1. Click Download an example.
  2. In one column, create unique participant identifiers (not their names).
  1. In the second column, add their email addresses (if not administering in person).
  2. Save the file, then upload it using the Choose File button on DCAL. Click Next.
  3. A message will appear telling you how many participants have been found, and that this will require tokens. Click Confirm then Finish.

Your participants will now be visible on your upload screen.

Run the Test

There are 3 ways for participants to complete a DCAL test:

  • You can conduct the test in person through the Project Page.
  • You can independently send participants a link to the test for them to complete on their own.
  • You can send participants an automatic email containing the study link.

How do I run a test in person?

Press the Start Now button. The consent and demographics will then appear, followed by the test.

If the participant leaves the test part-way through, the project screen will display a Resume Test button. After the participant completes the test, or closes the test, you will have to log back in to DCAL.

How do I send participants an Email?

Click Actions then Email Link to All Participants.

Participants will receive an email that looks like this:

When the participant clicks Begin Test they will be taken to a web-browser and first shown the consent form, then the demographics, then the test. When the participant has completed both, the columns next to their name will display a Download button.

Note: some tests require in person scoring.

How do I use a Link to recruit participants?

Copy the link at the top of the project page, and send it to participants however you’d like. Participants will have to enter their participant ID to access the experiment, so make sure to include this. Participants will then be sent to the consent form, then demographics, then the test.

Note: some tests require in person scoring.

Download your Data

To download a single participant’s data, press the Download button in the Data column next to their participant ID.

To download all your data, go to Actions then Download All Data.

What is included and how is it laid out?

The following is an example of a data spreadsheet (click to expand).

Data is given in long-format, with one row per screen/event. Your spreadsheet is loosely divided into several sections:

The first section comprises the event index, the UTC Timestamp, the UTC Date, the Local Timestamp and the Local Date. If the UTC and Local Date columns appear as #### symbols, you may need to expand the width of these columns.

The second section is the participant Public ID, and the participant Private ID.

The third section is information about the participant's device (Device Type, Device and Operating System), Browser, and screen size (Monitor Size and Viewport Size).

The fourth section is the test data. This includes the Task Name, the Section the row refers to, the Subsection, the Trial Index, the name of any stimuli, the Correct Answer, the participant's response, whether the response was Correct and their Reaction Time.

The fifth section is the other test-relevant data. In this example this is the different options that were offered to the participant.

The sixth and last section is scoring. This contains: the Raw Score for each section, overall Standardised Score, Accuracy for each section, and Mean Reaction Time for each section.

Download your demographics

To download a single participant’s demographic data, find their participant ID, and click the Download button in the Demographics column next to their ID.

Note: Live participants will not have data download buttons

To download all your demographic data, go to Actions then Download All Demographics.

Demographics are stored separately to data, and if a participant has dropped out after completing demographics, but not the test, their data will still be included in your demographics download.

The data download excel file will be presented as one row per participant. The demographic data included will be dependant on your individual test, but will typically include participant number, time at which the participant completed the demographics, date at which participant completed the demographics, and age. The Demographics file will include columns for all possible questions, so you may have to scroll to find your data and delete the unnecessary columns.