Prolific Review 2022 - HuginX

Prolific

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Prolific Review

Founded in Oxford, Prolific is a platform that offers research participants the opportunity to answer paid surveys. Many of Prolific’s research clients come from academia, which means the surveys are often interesting and challenging compared to standard consumer surveys. In this review, we’ve taken a closer look at how it is to be a respondent on the Prolific platform, both when it comes to user experience and the level of compensation you can expect.

reviwer

Andreea Stan – Our Expert: Andreea is from Timisoara, Romania with a background from user experience (UX) research. Her UX knowledge comes in really handy when reviewing survey experience. Originally joining HuginX as a freelancer, she is now a regular contributor to site. When Andreea is not working with panel reviews, she enjoys old classic movies and she has a passion for baking.

Is Prolific a legit survey site?

Yes. The prolific panel is owned and managed by UK-based Prolific Academic Ltd., which started as a data provider for academic institutions. Prolific has enjoyed high organic growth in recent years thanks to its popular panel model and continues to expand its business beyond academia. This is a serious market research provider with a transparent approach that you can trust will pay the incentives they promise as long as you play by their rules.

prolific oxford

Data Privacy: Any reason for concern?

Prolific is a panel site that requires you to do an ID check by using a document such as a passport, driver’s license, or national ID card. Having verified panelists is a huge advantage for Prolific because it gives them the certainty that respondents are who they claim they are. This results in Prolific’s clients being willing to pay more for the data they receive, which usually means higher incentives for respondents.

Note that Prolific is using third-party provider Onfido to verify ID. Onfido deletes the information associated with your account in 90 days. As part of ID verification, they share the following information with Prolific:

  • Your first name and surname
  • Your date of birth
  • The country of origin for your ID

Prolific’s privacy policy noted that they do not identify participants to researchers but only provide researchers with the demographic, screener, or performance data, which does not include direct identifiers like name or email address. So while your survey answers will be shared with Prolific’s third-party clients, your key identifiers will be kept confidential.

While key personal identifier data is kept confidential, you might still experience personal data being asked in surveys launched outside of Prolific’s system. Like with all survey companies, we encourage respondents to err on the side of caution when providing their private data. If you don’t feel comfortable or don’t understand for what purpose personal information such as your phone number or name is asked in a survey, you should pause and notify Prolific’s helpdesk.

How to get started taking surveys on Prolific

To sign up for Prolific, click on the Join-Button on this page, which will take you to their recruitment page. Because Prolific uses an external provider to verify IDs (which they have to pay for), they only allow as many respondents as they need to sign up for their panel. If they are already fully covered, you’ll be offered to sign up to their waiting list for a free spot to become available. Once you have been notified, you’ll be able to register on their portal by filling out your key contact information and demographic profile.

prolific screenshot

There are three steps required before you can start earning money by taking surveys:

  • Account verification via email
  • Phone verification via SMS
  • Identity verification via passport or driving license

The ID verification is done through 4 steps:

  1. Click to verify your ID on the Onfido webpage (Onfido is the software provider they’re using to verify ID)
  2. Take a photo of your ID
  3. Take a photo of yourself
  4. Submit!

You’ll usually get the result very quickly, which means you can finally get started taking your first Prolific surveys!

What about the survey experience?

The Prolific user interface is created based on a minimalistic design that is easy to navigate. When taking surveys, you’ll be able to quickly identify the incentive level displayed for each survey opportunity and the time you’ll need to spend taking the survey. If you only have limited spare time at your disposal to take surveys, it’s useful to know how much time each survey will take before starting to answer questions.

There are three ways you can access new surveys on Prolific:

  1. Studies page
  2. Email invitations
  3. Browser extension (Chrome, Firefox)
  4. Studies page

The Studies page will show you all studies that are available to you. The main difference between this and the Prolific Assistant are:

  • You don’t get notifications
  • You can read about the study before reserving a place

If you don’t want to participate, click ‘Not interested,’ and the study will disappear. If you want to participate, reserve your place, and then start the study!

Email notifications

A random subset of eligible participants will be emailed whenever a study is published. This means that you may receive emails inviting you to studies, but not for every study published on Prolific.

If you’re part of a longitudinal or multi-part study, you’ll get invites to the follow-ups via email, so make sure you look out for them! They’ll also appear on your Studies page.

Browser Extension

The Prolific Assistant is a browser extension designed to monitor the Prolific website for new studies and alert you when it finds them. If you see a study you like the look of, click it, and you’ll enter it straight away. If you decide you’d rather not take the study, you can return it.

Features:

  • Shows how many studies are available on the extension icon
  • Provides a desktop notification for every new study found
  • Lets you enter your studies straight away
  • Shows the last time studies were checked for

Overall the user experience is really good, providing plenty of opportunities for respondents to stay on top of new survey opportunities. We like the fact that they use email sparingly instead of most other “run of the mill” survey sites which will email you several times per day. And even if Prolific doesn’t offer a mobile app, the website loads fast through the mobile browser.

Some surveys may require reading long passages to understand the survey instructions. Since some of the surveys are intended for academic research, you’ll often be exposed to more complex experiments and tasks requiring attention. On one side, this makes the surveys more interesting and challenging to fill out, but they also require more concentration than standard consumer surveys about shopping habits.

researcher

How much can you make on Prolific?

Prolific is very transparent when it comes to its incentive levels. At the time of writing, their minimum rates are £6/$8 an hour, significantly higher than what many other consumer panels are paying. Most consumer panels pay between $0.10 to $0.50 for a standard 10-minutes consumer survey about shopping habits. Still, on Prolific, you are guaranteed $1.33 as a minimum which is more than the US minimum wage.

A major difference between Prolific and other panel sites is that incentive costs are passed through directly to their research clients. In this way, the researcher will have full visibility of the amount paid to respondents and can also choose to increase the reward. This is very different from most professional market research providers, who will keep the (often embarrassingly low) incentive level hidden from the client.

The redemption level is $5/£5, which is considered very low compared to the relatively high incentive level. Unlike other panel companies that often require you to complete more than 20 surveys before redeeming, with Prolific, you can cash out after only a handful of 10-minute surveys. Payment of rewards goes through PayPal.

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What can prevent me from cashing out?

Prolific is a serious market research provider with high expectations towards its respondents. Researchers use attention checks to make sure participants pay attention to their study instructions. If you miss or fail attention checks, you’re not reading questions or instructions properly. 

Here is an example of a nonsensical type of attention check used by Prolific:

NS_good.JPG

If you fail the attention checks you will risk that your survey submission is rejected, which means you also won’t get paid. You might also be flagged if you’re taking the survey too fast or submitting gibberish information in the open-ended questions.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your PayPal and profile information should match, to avoid risking any payment delays.

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Disclosure: While HuginX is editorially independent, we may earn commissions on sign-up links.

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Our Values

We built HuginX around our core principles of openness, honesty and transparency. Your trust is of the utmost importance to us, which is why we’ll always be straight-up about how we review sites.

When it comes to running our website, we want to be entirely upfront about how we operate, how we make money, and how we keep the site a free resource for our millions of visitors.

We don’t accept payment to provide positive reviews, and providers will never have a say in how we choose the best sites. Our aim is to put you, the reader, first and foremost at all times. 

A list of practices we never engage in:

  1. We will never accept money to review a product
  2. We will never accept money to change a product review
  3. We will never accept money to turn a blind eye to an issue or flaw
  4. We will never accept money to bias our research or investigations
Our Apprach
8.4Expert Score
Prolific Review Summary
Prolific Review Founded in Oxford, Prolific is a platform that offers research participants the opportunity to answer paid surveys. Many of Prolific’s research clients come from academia, which means the surveys are often interesting and challenging compared to standard consumer surveys. In this review, we’ve taken a closer look at how it is to be […]
Survey Experience
8.8
Survey Matching
8.5
Incentive Level
8.1
Redeeming Rewards
8
PROS
  • Transparent payment system
  • Low redemption level
  • High incentives compared to regular consumer survey sites
  • Good selection of payment options
  • Interesting survey opportunities
  • High qualification rate
  • Simple user interface
CONS
  • Surveys are not always mobile-friendly
  • Complex questions which can take a lot of concentration and time to fill out

Features: Prolific

What can I earn?
Paid Gigs

Incentive Level
Redemption Threshold
Cash Incentives
Who should consider joining?
Consumers
Business Professionals
How do I get started?
Currently Recruiting?
Browser Support
App Support
Contact Methods
What company is behind this?
Company

Founded

2014

Country

United Kingdom

City (HQ)

Oxford

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