Skip to main content

Why Avicenna?

There are many software packages that claim they offer a full suite of capabilities for experience sampling studies, ecological momentary assessments, or more generally to create websites and apps for human-subject research. If you check out their website, they each make many claims about the wide range of features they support, the high quality service they offer, and other similar marketing messages.

If you are planning to start a study and want to choose a software, this many options is certainly going to make your life difficult.

To help you make an informed decision, we have put together this resource to compare all software packages. But like everything else at Avicenna, we wanted to do a thorough job, rather than just write a "Why Avicenna is better?" article. In particular, the following factors were very important to us:

  • Comprehensive: include every feature and capability that your research may need.
  • Always up-to-date: Remains up-to-date following new softwares and new features.
  • Easy to read: You can scan through it in a few minutes, or spend hours checking details. Your choice.
  • Community-driven: Anyone can contribute to it, either by expanding the feature space or better present a software.
  • Objective: Put our bias towards Avicenna aside, and objectively study pros and cons of all available packages.

The result is a public Github repository that you can access here. This repository lists all features a software package may offer (nearly 350 features). It then categorizes these features into a hierarchy, comprising of 12 categories and approximately 50 subcategories. And then for each feature, the repository documents the relevant capabilities of each software package. At the end, based on whether a given feature was fully supported, partially supported, or not supported, a score is assigned to each software package in each category and subcategory.

A small python code automatically creates a spreadsheet based on information in this repository. You can access the spreadsheet here.

This way, you can check the spreadsheet to have a quick assessment on what software offers better set of features overall, or in a certain domain. That would take you just minutes. Alternatively, you can check features that are important to you, and see how each software package supports it. You can go even further and check the Github repository's history to see how this assessment was made, what discussion was around it, and if you find a mistake, send a patch to correct it.

Subjective Reviews

As we studied and worked with different software packages, we formed an opinion on what are the pros and cons of each package. Being a team of software engineers, we could also sometimes read between the lines and guess why some software packages have designed certain features the way they have.

We did not include these evaluations in the above spreadsheet, to keep that only focused on objective metrics. But at the same time, we know these subjective assessments are equally important, if not more so. They give us a good perspective on what are the strengths of each competitive product, and what are their weaknesses and pitfalls.

In the following articles, we share this subjective analysis for each software, along with its objective comparison from the spreadsheet. We believe this provides you with a very good wholistic understanding of how our work compares to our competitors.