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).
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.