Prolific is definitely one of the most popular survey sites among HomeWorkingClub readers. I frequently receive emails from people thanking me for introducing them to it.
So what’s so good about the site? You’ll have to read this Prolific Surveys review to find out!
We’ll start at the very beginning – but before we do, here are some other sites I recommend checking out if you’re looking to make a little extra money on the side:
- UserInterviews: This site runs research panels, which can pay rather well – sometimes $100 of more for an hour of your time.
- SwagBucks: This “gamified” survey and reward site always has some options for earning. You can also get an instant $5 / £3 sign-up bonus if you join with this link. There’s a full review here.
- PrizeRebel: Another global survey and offers site with a decent reputation. Review here.
- Why Trust Me?
- What is Prolific?
- Our Experience: How does Prolific Work?
- Prolific Surveys: Rates and Payments
- How Much Can You Earn from Prolific?
- Prolific Tips
- Other Prolific Reviews
- Where is Prolific Available?
- Prolific Surveys Review: Conclusion
Why Trust Me?
I’ve personally been a member of Prolific for several years, and have cashed out with no problems many times.
I also get to hear feedback from thousands of HomeWorkingClub readers, so I quickly find out if any online opportunity gives cause for concern. This site is committed to giving honest and down-to-earth advice on all kinds of “make money online” opportunities, and you can read about our abiding principles here.
What is Prolific?
Prolific is a survey website that specialises in academic research. University students and professors use the platform to conduct research with real people, and Prolific survey participants can earn money from completing the surveys.
Prolific surveys are very different to the kind of surveys you complete when you work on “normal” survey sites. Usually, such surveys relate to consumer behaviour or politics, or seek your opinion on new products. Prolific surveys instead come from academic institutions, so the kind of questions you answer generally form part of a university research project.
As such, they are often about things like human behaviour, how you make decisions, and things like that (although they ARE about politics sometimes!) Profilic surveys are usually far more interesting to fill out than those on other survey sites.
Is Prolific Legit?
Prolific is completely legitimate survey website with a great reputation. The company has a global presence, and works with prestigious companies and institutions such The World Bank, Stanford and the University of Oxford.
Is Prolific a Scam?
Prolific is NOT a scam.
Our Experience: How does Prolific Work?
As with other survey sites, to sign up with Prolific you provide some basic details to obtain a login.
Once you’re signed up, you’re pointed in the direction of “pre-screening questions” that make you eligible for more surveys.
The theory is that the more of these you fill in, the more Prolific know about you, which gives you more opportunity to be matched to relevant surveys.
I completed a considerable number of these questions when I signed up to Prolific (around 70, from a quick count), but there remain dozens more available to me. One day I may find myself tempted to complete more, to see if it has a notable effect on the number of surveys available to me. As and when I do, I’ll update this Prolific Surveys review.
Once you’re done completing as many pre-screening questions as you’re willing to, it’s a case of waiting to be matched to suitable surveys. Each time you are, you – in theory – receive a notification email.
PRO TIP: You will notice I say “in theory.”
One thing I have noticed about Prolific after being on a platform for several years is that the notification email system is – at best rather hit and miss.
I can go weeks without receiving any notifications, yet whenever I log on to the system there are some surveys available. For example, I’ve not seen a notifaction email for some time, but when I sat down to update this review of Prolific, there were all of these waiting for me:
As such, if you want to make the most of Prolific, you should log on regularly to manually check for available surveys.
Usually, researchers are seeking a finite number of participants for each study, so the quicker you jump onto Prolific to get involved, the more chance you have of being able to complete the survey and get paid.
What Are The Surveys Like?
Surveys on Prolific can vary hugely, and they’re usually hosted externally – away from the Prolific website itself.
Every Prolific participant has a participant ID. Sometimes this is automatically input into the survey you’re taking, but sometimes you’re required to manually copy and paste it in. Similarly, on some occasions your completion of a survey is automatically logged, on others, you’re given a completion code which you have to manually paste in.
None of this is complicated, and it’s always worked reliably for me.
As for the surveys themselves, they can be about literally anything. Sometimes they’re psychology-related, and it can be genuinely interesting to try to work out what the survey is seeking to find out. Other topics are more mundane, such as questions around your opinion on political events.
On some survey sites, you can be “screened out” of surveys after answering a (sometimes frustratingly large) number of demographic profiling questions. Prolific – thankfully – doesn’t work like that.
You’re effectively “pre screened,” using the information you provided at sign up. This is a MUCH better system, and – I think – one of the reasons so many people love this platform.
Some surveys on Prolific require you to use a computer, but others are available on smartphones and tablets.
It’s worth noting that responses to surveys on Prolific are manually verified by the researchers. As such, the payment for completed surveys doesn’t appear on your account immediately. You receive an email as each one is “signed off.” This usually takes a day or two, but does sometimes take longer.
In over three years, I’ve only had a couple of my responses rejected – for clear reasons that I have felt to be fair.
As you can see from the above, you can also look back on your past surveys, track your approvals, and also view the total number of surveys you’ve taken, and the money you’ve earned.
Prolific Surveys: Rates and Payments
On the face of it, the rates for surveys on Prolific look pretty decent. However, I feel it’s slightly disingenuous that they present them as an hourly rate.
It’s all well and good saying that getting involved in a survey equates to a rate of £15.28 ($20.95) per hour, but it’s actually pretty meaningless when it’s, as per the example, a one-minute survey than really bags you just 42 pence (58 cents!)
As with every survey site, this is a part time side gig – you cannot fill out surveys as a full time job! (That said, if you join several sites, it can add up to a monthly amount that’s really not too shabby).
Still, the rates themselves aren’t bad really, and they’re cash rates, rather than the more mysterious “points” offered by IPSOS and some other survey sites.
You need to link a PayPal account so you can be paid for the surveys you complete.
You can request a payout once your earnings reach GB£5.
I’ve cashed out on plenty of occasions now, and never had any problems whatsoever.
How Much Can You Earn from Prolific?
It impossible to give a firm figure, as exactly what you can earn from Prolific will vary based on how often you complete surveys, and how many you qualify for. However, if you check the site regularly, it’s feasible to expect to clock up $20-30 each month for using the site.
It is, however, worth being aware of the seasonality around the site – more on that next.
Having used the site for a long time, I feel in a good position to offer you some tips for making the most of it.
- Consider the academic year: As explained, Prolific isn’t a regular survey site – you’re participating in academic research. This means that the number of surveys available fluctuates throughout the year. For example, you will find typically find very little on the site over the summer when people are on holiday, and much more once the new term begins.
- Check the site manually: Although I have email notifications switched on, I very rarely receive any. I suspect this is by design, because they already have enough participants. For the best chance of grabbing the most studies, log on and check manually.
- Don’t rush or cheat! Many surveys have mechanisms built in to ensure you’re not cheating, or rushing through the questions without reading them. If you try to trick the system, you only run the risk of having responses rejected, or getting banned altogether.
- Fill out all the demographic information: As Prolific pre-screens, the more the site knows about you, the more you’re likely to qualify for more surveys (or studies, as they’re called on this site).
Other Prolific Reviews
Whenever I review an opportunity, I like to see what other online reviews have to say.
In this case, I was quite surprised to see a Prolific TrustPilot rating average of just 2.7 stars! This seemed very much out of whack with my own opinion, and the wealth of feedback I’ve had from readers.
Delving a little further, however, I spotted a clear pattern. The other reviews of Prolific broadly separate into those that are very positive, and others where people don’t appear to be using the platform correctly, or understanding how it works. One, for example, said this:
“Made £110 in the first 4 weeks then in the last 3 months I’ve made £17 and had no surveys for about 6 weeks and there’s nothing they can do apparently.“
It just so happens that the time frame of that review sits exactly over the summer holidays, when most of the academics will have been off on holiday! The person leaving that review also makes the mistake of assuming that any survey site can deliver a consistent income. It’s NOT a job!
As with any large, global site, there will be people with axes to grind – but I’ve experienced nothing myself that causes concern.
Where is Prolific Available?
From the sign-up form, it originally appeared to me that you could sign up to Prolific from absolutely anywhere. This would have been great news for the many people who are often locked out of the majority of home working opportunities if they live in certain countries.
However, after digging a little deeper, I found that it’s only possible to join from a set list of countries at the time of writing. The list of countries is reasonably large. However, people in countries not on the list will, no doubt, be disappointed.
If you want to work on surveys as a side gig, Prolific is definitely a site you’ll want on your list. The payout threshold is low and the site’s reputable.
Prolific Surveys Review: Conclusion
You’re not going to get rich doing Prolific surveys, but signing up will earn you some pocket money. It’s a no-brainer to get involved if surveys are your thing, and the ones here are far more fun to do than most. The rates are also better than average, and it’s nice to see what you get in cash, rather than obscure “points.”
Prolific is one of the few survey sites I’ve continued to personally use after completing my review. That in itself is a vote of confidence!
If you’ve used Prolific already, please tell us about your experiences in the comments.
You can find some other side gig ideas here.
Prolific - A Worthwhile Survey Site
Quality and Reputation
Ease of Use
- Surveys are more interesting than most.
- Available in a fairly wide range of countries.
- Reliable payments.
- Cash rather than points.
- Availability of surveys inconsistent throughout the year.
- Email notifications can’t be relied on.
Founder of HomeWorkingClub.com – Ben has worked freelance for nearly 20 years. As well as being a freelance writer and blogger, he is also a technical consultant with Microsoft and Apple certifications. He loves supporting new home workers but is prone to outbursts of bluntness and realism.
19 thoughts on “Prolific Surveys Review – Is it Worth Signing Up?”
Hi Ben, Long time reader. Years ago, I used to use Prolific but deleted my profile as I had no time to do anything when I went travelling for a bit. I recently thought about signing up again, but Prolific now requires you upload a copy of your ID plus a selfie with you holding said ID! (At least that is what their email to me said.)
Whilst I understand they may have valid reasons for asking for this, I am not comfortable at all with the idea of having to upload copy of my ID and selfie etc, even if they claim it will only be used to sign up. I wonder if this is only for new people signing up, and if they old users haven’t had to do this?
I don’t think personally this would bother me too much as they’re a well known company. It does seem to just be for new accounts, because I just logged on to mine and it’s not asking me for any ID.
This is my absolute favourite of the survey sites for earnings and interesting surveys. I try to log in regularly and see a fair few surveys a week, even now in the summer holidays. I’ve made more on here than I’ve made on a lot of other survey sites. I gave up on Populus Live a couple of weeks ago, as I never actually made a single penny on their site. I’ve made £115 on Prolific and £88 on OnePoll so far. The only other survey site I use is Nectar Canvass, but I sometimes wonder why I bother with it…
I always get good feedback about Prolific 🙂
I’m surprised you’ve not had more success with Populus Live. I tend to reach the £50 cashout a few times each year and Hannah, our survey reviewer, seems to do better still. I guess a lot depends on your demographic. You may find this article on survey tips (link) interesting.
I signed up and set up my account with prolific a few days ago. I update the About You page regularly. It has not shown any study yet. How long does it take normally to start seeing studies ?
It’s hard to say, because what you are offered will depend on your demographics etc. However, a far bigger factor is that these are academic studies and it’s the middle of the summer holidays. I’d expect things to pick up in September / October, and seem to remember people noticing the site was quiet this time last year!
I am unable to login to Prolific so unable to do survey or redeem the balance I have built up in my account. I have tried contacting them but receive a wall of silence. Be careful with any sites like this they really are not worth your time.
I like to allow freedom of speech in my comment section but have to say that this is the first negative thing I’ve ever heard about Prolific and I also successfully use them myself with no issue.
About 18 months ago, Prolific said in an email that they weren’t going to send out email invites any more as the respondents tended to be those who responded quickest to the invites rather than a more representative sample of their members and the system wasn’t fair. However, as expected, people forget to log on to find surveys or are too busy to check every day, so Prolific seem to have backtracked and are sending out some email invites, but certainly not for all surveys. It’s worth logging on regularly.
Interesting – I got an email invite over the weekend – the first I’d seen in ages. They certainly don’t seem to send them out as a matter of course, however, as there’s often something there when I randomly log on.
I just cashed out £13 for the first time today. Was wondering does you PayPal account have to be verified in order to be able to receive payment from them?
I’m not sure to be honest as mine is verified, it’s a small amount so it may be OK. You’ll find out soon enough as their payments don’t tend to take very long.
I’m really starting to like Prolific. I had signed up a year ago or so and would only do the surveys when I got an email invite but then they were getting more sparse as you said. Then I started logging in and checking everyday and for the last few months there have been plenty of surveys. I think I made about 60 bucks in a month and a half at the end of last year (and the low mininum payout is great).. I had one or two quiet days this week where there weren’t that much but then it seemed to pick up again. I cashed out about mid January with about 80 bucks and I’m up to 30+ usd again. I love that the payout is in pounds because it’s always a treat to know that it will be more than what it would in usd, lol.
Glad it’s working out well for you. I don’t know whether the email notifications just don’t work properly or whether they only send them out when they’re short of participants because I never get any at all, yet whenever I log on there seems to be surveys available!
I like the studies they have, but I found since I signed up a week ago I had only 2 studies. I leave the page open all day, but nothing appears. I do get a lot of error 500 and according to the help desk they are aware of that and are working on it.
Hi Maddy, The availability of the work does tend to ebb and flow throughout the year. As most of the surveys are around academic projects I suspect it gets busier when people in universities are completing studies, and it seemed to be particularly busy during the latter part of last year. As always, the best thing with surveys is to sign up for multiple sites in the hope that you’ll have a couple keeping you busy when others are quiet. Have to say, however, that other than a flurry of activity at the very start of the year, things are pretty quiet with all the sites right now.
I also use Prolific and I live in the US. you are correct. I have been a member for about 2 years and the invitations have slowed down quite a bit. They are my favorite. It is nothing for me to bring in 10-15$ a week. Also the currency conversion to US Dollars makes the surveys worth more than what is listed on the site. In conclusion, I also have stopped using other sites. The payout makes it worth my time.
Prolific is the only survey site I use anymore because the surveys there are creative & hold my interest. I’ll check out IPSOS iSay and Populus Live, but no promises.
I like Prolific too – Populus is UK only I believe – a shame because it’s one of the better ones. All the best!