I took a look at Prolific surveys as I know plenty of readers of this site are on the lookout for side gigs to earn them a little extra money.
Prolific surveys are a little different to the kind of surveys you complete when you work on services like IPSOS iSay or Populus Live. 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.
This makes for some rather more interesting surveys than normal. If, like me, you have an interest in psychology or other social sciences, filling out Prolific surveys is quite engaging – and certainly more engaging than ticking boxes about your household income and occupation over and over and over again!
But this Prolific Surveys review isn’t really about the kind of questions you’re asked. I imagine you’re far more interested in whether there’s any money to be made on this site? So let’s get started and find out.
What are Prolific Surveys?
Prolific hosts academic surveys, so the surveys tend to originate from university research projects. As such, they are often about things like human behaviour, how you make decisions, and things like that. This means Profilic surveys are usually far more interesting to fill out than those on other survey sites.
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 (around 70, from a quick count), but there remain dozens more available to me. If I had lots of time, I’d be tempted to complete more, and see if it had a notable effect on the number of surveys available to me. As and when I do, I’ll update this review if it makes any noticeable difference to my results.
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 receive a notification email. 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 are of being able to complete the survey and get paid.
Prolific Surveys: Rates and Payments
On the face of it, the rates for surveys on Prolific look pretty decent. However, I feel it’s a little 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 ($20) per hour, but it’s actually pretty meaningless when it’s, as per the example, a two-minute survey than really bags you just 50 pence!
Still, the rates themselves aren’t bad really, and they’re cash rates, rather than the mysterious “points” offered by IPSOS and some other survey sites.
You need to provide PayPal account details so you can be paid for the surveys you complete, or you have the alternative of using Circle Pay. You can also opt to donate your survey income to charity.
You can request a payout once your earnings reach GB£5, although you’re charged a fee for the payout. Prolific suggest you wait until you’ve earned £20 and use Circle in order to avoid such fees.
Where is Prolific Available?
From the sign-up form, it originally appeared to me that you could sign up to Prolific from absolutely anywhere, which 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 and can be found here. However, people in countries not on the list will, no doubt, be disappointed.
My Experiences with Prolific
I like doing Prolific surveys. They’re more interesting than other surveys, and contributing to scientific research definitely feels like a more worthy use of time than giving your opinion on a new logo for washing powder!
However, there’s one notable problem, which is that there simply aren’t enough surveys on the platform to make any meaningful amount of money.
I signed up to Prolific at the beginning of the year, specifically for the purposes of this review. I’ve responded to every survey I’ve been invited to, and the above shows my total four months later!
Before you click the “Back” button and look for something else, I should quickly say that I don’t think this is a reason not to sign up to Prolific. The key to making good side income from survey sites is to sign up to a bunch of them. You then find that, all together, they add up to something worthwhile. Take a look at my side gig earnings report from last year as proof of this.
I should also point out that there remain dozens more prescreening questions that I’ve yet to fill in, all of which could result in more surveys coming through. A read through some other Prolific reviews seems to suggest this is the case – so I will work through more of these and update the review at some point.
The basic fact is that if you want to work on surveys as a side gig, it makes no sense not to add Prolific to your list. The payout threshold is low and the site’s reputable, so for a few extra bucks here and there, you might as well.
One final downside I will mention is that the performance of Prolific isn’t always great.
Errors like the one shown above are far from rare, and sometimes the website feels like it’s hooked up to the internet via a dial-up connection. It’s not a deal breaker, but it’s irritating, and it seems to be that way more often than not.
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.
If you rely on Prolific to put food on the table, you’ll go hungry pretty quick, but it’ll remain on my roster of little side gigs, and it’s worthy of a place on yours.
If you’ve used Prolific already, please tell us about your experiences in the comments.
Prolific won't earn you very much, but as part of a portfolio of survey sites it's worth signing up.
- Ease of Use
- Earning Potential