ReChat - An Integrated and Interactive Chat Suite for Online Survey Experiments

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ReChat - An Integrated and Interactive Chat Suite for Online Survey Experiments

Princeton Docket # 21-3825

ReChat is an integrated and interactive chat suite that can be used by an individual researcher or research team to perform chat-based studies on any given topic. It allows researchers to administer, monitor, and analyze live conversations. ReChat allows researchers to recruit participants directly into live chat rooms that can be embedded in a Qualtrics survey, or used as a stand-alone interface. The intelligent ReChat suite lets researchers define instructions and questions to guide the chat, and configure additional options for the conversation. Using the various features provided by the ReChat suite, researchers can define multiple chatroom templates to conduct multiple studies simultaneously. Moreover, ReChat allows significant aspects of the research process to be fully automated, requiring no research assistants to moderate discussions, and employing a dynamic waiting room system to place participants into chatrooms as they are recruited, obviating the need for scheduling chat sessions in advance ( thus greatly reducing costly attrition). 


  • Researcher-friendly interface for managing multiple live chat studies in tandem
  •  Multi-language support
  •   Dynamic waiting room system for live recruitment to minimize attrition
  •   Customizable room templates to specify group size, composition, duration, and questions/prompts to guide discussion
  •   Automated bot issues chat questions/prompts to the researcher's specification
  •   Optional human moderation of live conversation



  • Efficient management of large-scale chat studies.
  • Versatile use to perform chat based studies on any topic
  • Automated bots as moderators
  • User-friendly exportations of chat transcripts




According to Pew research, Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines than at any point in the last two decades.


One possible solution to the above problem is to practice deliberative democracy. Deliberation is an approach to politics in which citizens are deeply involved in community problem solving and public decision making. There is growing empirical evidence showing that deliberative practices can flourish in deeply divided societies to good effect. Under the right conditions, deliberation in divided societies can help to bridge the deep conflicts across religious, national, racial, and ethnic lines.


The question then becomes: what kind of deliberation will be more effective? What group structures and deliberation procedures should we follow? These all require experimental tests.


Traditional research convenes experiment participants to a physical lab for face-to-face discussion. This creates difficulties at all stages of the research process, including recruitment, experimental treatment manipulation, and data collection. It is also highly expensive, which often leads to sample size reduction as a trade-off.


ReChat, an integrated and interactive chat suite for online survey experiments, represents a solution to this problem. ReChat is a researcher-friendly online platform for recruiting participants into chatrooms that can be manipulated by the researcher, allowing efficient management of large-scale chat studies that can shed light on the social dynamics of digital communication about which scholars often speculate but can rarely test.

Intellectual Property & Development Status

Patent protection is pending.

Princeton is currently seeking commercial partners for the further development and commercialization of this opportunity.


Key Words

     Chat tool, Online; Experiment; Survey; Interactive

The Inventors

XiaoXiao Shen is a graduate student in the Department of Politics at Princeton University. Her research interests span from comparative political behavior, political psychology, and authoritarian politics to quantitative methods. My specific focus is on understanding citizens’ political attitudes and psychological behavior in authoritarian countries. She obtained a B.Sc in Mathematics with Statistics from Imperial College London and an M.Phil in Social Science from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Her work has appeared in British Journal of Political Science, Governance, and World Development.



Laurie Tzodikov

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing

(609) 258-7256 •





Patent Information:
Computers and Software
For Information, Contact:
Tony Williams
Princeton University
Xiaoxiao Shen