Susan writes for a few websites to earn money and enjoys sharing what she has learned.
Prolific is a Survey Website Used by Universities Around the World
Earning a Little Cash on this Survey Site
Like many people, I try to make a little extra money working at home. If you do an internet search on this subject, many scams and questionable schemes appear in the listings. One subject that comes up often is surveys with claims that you can make a decent amount of money completing them. Having tried this, like many others, I soon got fed up with sites that screened me out of surveys after answering a number of boring questions and getting no renumeration for it.
After some research, I found a site that is different. It does not screen you out because you will have been carefully selected before being offered the survey or task. In addition the surveys are interesting and engaging, and you get fairly paid for your time. It all sounded too good to be true, so I joined up expecting to bitterly disappointed. However, the claims are true in this instance. Prolific is indeed a fairly well-paid survey site with daily tasks to complete.
What is Prolific Academic?
It is a website used by universities and colleges all around the world as part of their research. For a lot of studies undertaken at universities, participants are needed so the researchers can understand or prove theories and ideas. They will usually need a wide range of participants from all backgrounds to ensure their research isn't biased. Some research will need to be done face to face, but a lot of it can be done online. This is where Prolific Academic comes in. The researchers load their tasks and surveys on the site, they select the type of participants they want to invite, and they collect the results to use in their studies.
The Experience of a Participant
As a Prolific Academic participant, you get to do short tasks that are interesting to complete. Each one is differently presented, so you must read the instructions, but they are not complicated. The kind of things I have done is:
1. Recall details from a fabricated script shown at the beginning of the task.
2. Answered a few questions about my view of Brexit.
3. Written a deliberate lie about my last vacation.
4. Listed emotions in order when relating to subjects
5. Deciding if a facial expression is happy or sad.
6. Choosing how much to gamble in a given scenario.
Some tasks on this site can only be carried out on a mobile phone, often because the researchers want to access the camera as part of the study to watch your facial reactions. If you do not want to do these tasks, then there is no pressure to do so. I completed one where tiny numbers popped up randomly around the screen and the camera recorded where my eyes looked.
Before you accept a task, you will be told roughly what you will do, the anticipated time it will take (usually between 5 and 15 minutes) and the fee you will collect on completion. You are reassured you can opt out at any time, even if you have already accepted the study, and that your personal details are not revealed. These are all ethnic studies, and they are extremely well thought out.
I understand the researcher has the chance to check that the participant has completed the task appropriately, so your submission will be 'pending' for a little while, but once approved the fee is credited to your account. I have found that most tasks are approved within the same day with the odd exception.
My Participant Dashboard
My Prolific Academic Account
When you first sign up, you need to complete information about your lifestyle, health, employment etc. which creates your profile. There are a lot of these to complete, but you don't have to do them all immediately. I did mine over the space of three days to break it up.
You then can accept tasks. If you like the offered survey, click on it to reserve your place. You must start the task within 10 minutes.
Once you have completed the task, it will show up in your Submissions list. When it has been approved, the fee will be credited to your account. Once you have £5 you can withdraw the money to Paypal. If you wait until you have more than £20 before withdrawing, there is no Paypal fee to pay.
My Tips for Using Prolific Academic Website
- Fill in all the 'about you' questions over the first few days. Be honest, there are no right or wrong answers
- Log into your account and leave the page open if there are no surveys available. The site automatically refreshes, and you will see something pop onto your dashboard if something becomes available. If you have it in a separate tab, you will see a (1) or (2) appear letting you know how many tasks have been added.
- Copy your Prolific ID number every time you start a new task as you will be asked to paste it at some point. You are able to go back and locate it, but it saves time if you already have it available.
- Copy the Completion Code at the end of the task. You don't always need to paste it in, sometimes it is automatic, but you CANNOT go back and get it later. Get in the habit of doing it every time.
- Wait until you have £20 in credit before cashing out if you can so you don't incur Paypal fees
- Refer friends using your referral code (it will be under your account) and earn 10% of their first cashout amount. Mine is https://www.prolific.ac/p?ref=1ROGE1UI
I am really happy with the site and can confirm it is not a scam. It is a good way to earn money doing surveys online, for example, I cashed out £50 to help with Christmas this year.
Academic Uses Participants Around the World
Susan Hambidge (author) from Kent, England on September 07, 2018:
Here is my referral code https://www.prolific.ac/p?ref=1ROGE1UI
Susan Hambidge (author) from Kent, England on September 07, 2018:
Thank you Sheila for your feedback. I was truly pleased with this site and I am glad I could pass this on. Happy surveying!
SheilaMilne from Kent, UK on September 06, 2018:
Thank you for this! I hadn't heard of Prolific before but I joined up after I read your article. I think it's excellent compared with other survey sites I have used. Pays better and far more interesting.
Susan Hambidge (author) from Kent, England on August 27, 2018:
Thanks Liz. More than anything I enjoy doing the surveys/tasks. They are generally interesting and you wonder what the results of the overall study will be!
Liz Westwood from UK on August 27, 2018:
There are so many survey sites out there that are time wasters. It is refreshong to find one that treats participants fairly.