RAT Software

The Result Assessment Tool (RAT) is a modular and flexible research software that allows the design and conduct of studies using search engine data.

RAT logo

RAT logo

With RAT, researchers can easily define a list of queries. The tool then automatically queries selected search engines, collects the results, and presents them in a structured format for further processing. RAT efficiently collects result URLs, full text, and screenshots.

In research studies, researchers run automatic analysis and classification or let jurors evaluate results on whatever criteria they are interested in.

RAT is free to use through a web interface. It is fully open source, so researchers can run their installations or modify the software to fit their needs.


Create a study

In the first step, you create a study, defining which search engines you want to investigate. RAT can connect to various search systems, including web search engines like Google and Bing, library catalogues, and other more specialised search systems. In this step, you also upload a list of queries that will be used in your study. Should you need inspiration, you can use the Query Sampler.

Automatically collect results from search engines

When you start the data collection process, RAT will automatically send your queries to the search engines, collect the results, and put them in a structured format that you can later download as an Excel file.

Automatically analyse results

RAT offers classifiers that can automatically classify the collected results. For instance, you can analyse results to determine whether search engine optimization (SEO) techniques have been used or compute the overlap between different search engines.

Conduct juror-based evaluations

Want to have the results assessed by humans? Create a questionnaire to ask questions about the results (e.g., “How relevant is this result to answer the query?”) and distribute it to your jurors.

Getting started

Want to do your own study with RAT?

Try out the demo version at http://rat-software.org/. Click the “launch demo” button, register, and design your first study! If you need help setting up your research or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The RAT Community Meeting

RAT is built for the research community.

Once a year, we organize a community meeting where participants can learn about new features of RAT, attend tutorials on how to best use RAT for their research, see showcases of how researchers from different fields have used RAT for their studies, and connect with other researchers.

See the 2024 community meeting agenda

Video recordings of all presentations from the 2023 community meeting are available here.

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