Prolific Academic Review: Is it Legit? (and How to Get More Studies)

(Last Updated On: February 7, 2020)

While trying out different ways to make money online, paid survey sites have inevitably been one of the areas I’ve explored. I’m sure you’ll have seen from searching the web there are loads of survey sites around. The problem is knowing which ones are worth your time. In this post, I’ll review one of the survey sites I use the most – Prolific Academic.

This post may contain affiliate links where I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information please read my full disclosure policy. All opinions are my own. 

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What Is Prolific Academic?

Prolific Academic is a high-end survey company, specialising in academic research studies. Originally called Prolific Academic, the company rebranded in 2015 to Prolific.

Is Prolific Legitimate?

Yes, Prolific is 100% legitimate, and what’s more a very ethical survey company as far as I’m concerned. They believe in fair payment and transparency which is refreshing to see in the paid survey space (not all companies can make this claim I can tell you!).

How Does Prolific Academic Work?

Firslty you’ll need to sign up by visiting either the “Participants” section of the website or the “sign up” button on the top right of the homepage (below).

Proliific Academic Home Page Screenshot with sign up button

To register you just need to enter the following information:

  • Make sure the first drop down is set to “I Want to Take Part in Studies” not “I want to recruit participants” which is the default selection if you come in via the Sign Up button on the Home Page.
  • Your country of Residence
  • Date of Birth
  • Email address
  • Name
  • Then create a password.

Filling out Your Prolific Profile and Getting Started

Once you signed up, you’ll need to fill out your profile. I know this is a bit of a pain, but the upfront work is definitely worth it. A full profile will make you eligible for more studies. So, I advise filling this section out as fully as possible. Keep tabs on it though, as periodically, new profile questions get added. So, make sure you keep this up to date, so you keep receiving studies.

You’ll also have to take part in a 5-minute demo study.

You’ll now start receiving paid studies in your prolific dashboard. One important thing though, is that you don’t get emails telling you about every study. You get a few but only very sporadically, so it’s always best to log into your dashboard to see if you’ve got any available.

How to Get More Studies on Prolific

One of the initial frustrations I had with Prolific was the fact that you don’t get email notifications.

This meant I had to keep checking back to see if new surveys were available. Now, this is completely impractical for most people. We’re all busy and simply haven’t got time to keep logging into a survey site to check for studies.

However, there’s a solution… There’s a handy Prolific Academic browser extension you can get.  The Prolific Survey Extension alerts you when new studies are available. It simply sits on your Chrome browser and the little red box shows you how many studies are available.

It can also announce that a study is available. “New Study Available on Prolific”, says the robotic sounding woman…

You can also set the check interval – I set mine to every 60 minutes, which is the most frequent interval available.

What Are Prolific Academic Surveys Like?

The research studies on Prolific differ from the usual paid survey sites. With the traditional survey sites, you’re asked questions about your political views, your gas and energy provider, recent news or what you watch on TV.

However, because Prolific is an Academic Research company, the surveys differ quite a bit. The research studies on Prolific can be really thought-provoking, which is a nice change!

For example, you may have questions about moral dilemmas or psychology. I even had one about a mock murder trial – how cool is that?!

How much do you make on Prolific?

You’re not going to make mega money with Prolific – certainly not anything like a full-time income. Prolific has a minimum pay rate of £5 per hour which is a lot higher than most survey sites. This varies though from study to study, so it is possible to get some studies that pay over £10 per hour. In my experience though, the vast majority of the surveys are around the £5 per hour range.

How long does Prolific take to pay?

Once you’ve completed a study it has to be reviewed by the researcher and approved before getting credited to your account. This usually takes a few days but I’ve had instances where it’s been approved the same day. It can take longer as well though, upto a maximum of 22 days. After 22 days all studies are automatically approved by Prolific if  no action has been taken by the researcher.

How do you cash out on Prolific?

You can now only cash out using PayPal on Prolific. There is a minimum payment threshold of £5. Once you’ve hit the £5 threshold you’ll need to link your PayPal account in the “Cashout Section” of your account details. You need to enter the email address associated with your PayPal account, then you;ll receive a an email to confirm that it’s correct.

Once you’ve done this the “Cashout” button next to your account balance will now be clickable. To cash out just click the Cashbout button.

You’ll then get the screen below that asks you if you want to proceed.

Prolific Academic Cash Out Screenshot

Click the proceed button. You’ll then get an email confirming your cashout request.

Prolific run payment runs twice a week, on Tuesday and Friday afternoons.

There’s also a feature that lets you cash out instantly when you reach the £5 threshold. This is only enabled though once you’ve made at least 4 cashouts since September 2018, the 5th cashout is then instant.

Is Prolific Worth It?

If you’re looking to make extra cash by taking part in interesting research studies, then yes.

It’s not going to make you rich or win any awards for the highest pay rate. But, it can be a great way to supplement your income, or combine with better-paid side hustles such as website testing.

Ok, I’m sold! Who’s It Available to and How Do I Sign Up for Prolific Studies?

Users from the following countries should be able to take part in Prolific Research Studies:

Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Chile, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, UK, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Slovenia, Turkey, US.

The sign-up process is simple. All you need to get going is your name, email address and country of residence. Then, simply create a password and you’re ready to get started.

How to make the most out of Prolific Academic

  • Complete your profile as fully as possible
  • Install the Prolific browser extension to alert you to new surveys
  • Give each study your full concentration and make sure you give good answers.
  • Sign up to Circle to cut out the PayPal Fees
  • If you hit a problem in a study, email the researcher at the end. Or add a comment after the “Did everything go smoothly” box. This can help to prevent any non-payment issues.

Pros

  • Prolific Studies don’t screen you out – EVER. One of the biggest frustrations with most survey sites is the screening out process. This is especially true when you’re screened out part way through a survey. You don’t get this with Prolific, when a study appears on your dashboard, it has a set number of places. Once you reserve your place you have 15 minutes to start the study.
  • Always plenty of studies available. This gives you the chance to earn a decent amount of cash each month. This is probably why you don’t get studies emailed out to you. If you did, you’d probably end up unsubscribing anyway due to the sheer volume of them!
  • Pay rates – this is a Biggy. The pay rates are way above average when compared with most survey sites around. Most survey sites tend to pay a paltry amount when you sit down and work it out as an hourly rate. In my view, this makes most survey sites just not worth your time. The minimum rate on Prolific is £5 per hour prorated. The rates vary for every survey though, and you do get a lot more at higher rates than this. I tend to ignore anything that’s below the minimum wage unless I’ve got nothing else to do.
  • Transparency – The fact that all surveys give you the pro-rated hourly rate is another big plus. It’s up to you then if you take it or not. Just a quick note on this though – the browser extension doesn’t seem to calculate this properly. So, make sure you double check the pay rate. This is a big selling point over Survey sites that pays you in points, which you then convert into real money.
  • Genuinely Interesting Studies – Surveys can get very monotonous, but with Prolific you do get a decent variety of studies to take part in. I’ve had memory games, brainstorming sessions, moral dilemmas just to name a few. So, as you can see it’s not your standard survey site.

Cons

  • Some studies haven’t paid out. You can go back in and email the researcher to try and rectify. But this is a real pain when you’re talking about such small values for some of these surveys. This is a big negative for Prolific when compared with other survey companies. You get a similar review process with website testing. But, website testing pays an average of $10 for a 20-minute test – so you’d expect a review process.
  • Not enough surveys available on mobile, or via an App. This would make studies more accessible. There’s no end of times I’ve logged on my phone to see a study, only find I can’t take part on mobile – FRUSTRATING…
  • Website navigation. Finding information for participants isn’t always easy.

My Verdict

Overall, Prolific Academic is one of my favourite survey sites alongside PopulusLive and the Streetbees App. New studies are available daily. This sets it apart from a lot of other survey sites that deliver surveys into your inbox rather sporadically. There’s also loads more surveys available compared to a lot of other sites. This makes Prolific a top pick when it comes to survey volume, and overall earning potential.

Never getting screened out is also a huge bonus! I quickly gave up with the likes of Swagbucks due to this and the low pay. Populus also has a habit of screening you out after a few minutes which gets very frustrating.

To sum up, Prolific Academic won’t make you rich, but it’s a quick and easy way to make consistent extra cash each month.

My Rating: 4/5

If you found this post useful please share or comment below.

You can also check out a few of my other favourite ways to get paid for your opinion:

Get Paid to Test Websites with these 14 Companies – Easily Earn Up to £45 per Hour

PopulusLive Survey Site Review

Streetbees Review: A Top Paying Survey and Tasking App

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a Prolific Academic App?

No, unfortunately not, this is one of the downsides of Prolific Survey. I also find that the bulk of the studies can only be completed on a laptop. This isn’t very convenient if you’re out and about all day.

What is My Prolific ID?

Your Prolific ID is the unique 24-character number allocated to your account. Sometimes you’ll need to enter your ID number before you participate in a study so that it can be allocated to your account (you simply copy it from one screen and paste it into a the window your study opens in). You don’t always need to do this though as with some studies your ID is automatically populated.

How do I contact Prolific?

You can contact Prolific using the support section of the website when you’re logged in and clicking on the “Submit a request” botton in the top right of the screen.

The you’ll need to enter:

  • Your email address
  • Your 24 character participant ID
  • Your first name
  • What your quetry is about
  • Subject
  • Study Name (if it relateds to a specific study)
  • A description of your question or issue along with any attachments (e.g. screenshots)

4 Comments

  1. Collins Michael Nwokolo December 5, 2018
    • Pennies for the Piggy Bank December 5, 2018
  2. Chiedu Jeffrey Ubabuko July 3, 2019
    • Pennies for the Piggy Bank July 5, 2019

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