Overall Ranking: 7.5 out of 10
Owners: Oxford University Innovation
Online Surveys are a great way of earning a little extra money from your computer or phone. Having said that, actually earning enough to hit the threshold for payment isn’t always as easy as it seems, in this review I will discuss the good and the bad about Prolific Academic (Surveys) and let you know what I think about this survey site.
Prolific Academics is offered by the Oxford University Innovation Software Incubator, so is predominantly studies from universities around the globe, I just completed a study in decision making by a university in Norway. They offer rewards for you completing these surveys and use the tag line “Take part in world-leading research and earn money for yourself or charity”.
For starters, let’s just say this is a genuine site backed by a well-known institute. Founded in 2014 as part of a crowdsourcing platform, as those in the fields found that it wasn’t easy to find people to complete scientific research.
They offer fun surveys, scientific research with fair rewards. Everything is displayed up-front including how long they expect for it to take, how much is the reward and how many spaces are still available for the survey. They offer an option to complete face-to-face surveys using Skype or if the survey requires it an option to visit the researchers with travel expenses paid.
WHO IT IS FOR
Completing surveys is a great way of supplementing a wage, not replacing it. In principle, anyone can join to take part in these surveys, after all, they are after a wide demographic. It also accepts people from most countries, although at the time of writing this, there is a temporary ban on certain countries, but no details on which.
You only need an email account and phone to be able to verify your account.
HOW IT WORKS
Registration is relatively straightforward, sign up then check your email to verify your account. Until you verify your account, you can only complete the pre-screening questions.
Now, most survey sites have pre-screening questions, but you then still end up having to complete a few pre-questions when completing a survey, only to find out you don’t qualify and end up with no reward.
Prolific Academics is different, the pre-screening questions are extensive – grab a cuppa and sit down to answer them, they took me about 20 minutes. Worth it? Yes… They won’t back you out of a survey.
Swagbucks can give you 20 surveys and then say you are not eligible for any of them. These guys only show you relevant surveys and you do actually complete them.
The only watch out with this is, the researcher reviews your answers prior to authorising the payment… which effects your prolific score…
They give you what is a prolific score which starts at 100 out of 100, if a researcher rejects your answers, you lose the reward money and you also lose some of your prolific score points. In the FAQ, they state that the first 10/20 surveys will not hurt as bad if you are rejected. From their point of view, it is a great incentive to make sure you do the surveys correctly and not rush them. Some people will get in the mind-set of completing as many surveys as possible to earn money, but there needs to be an element of integrity.
But, thinking about the surveys I have completed to do this review, none of them were too taxing and it was easy to make sure you fill them in the right way.
Reading their FAQ about this power they have – some have a concern that researchers could just reject some surveys to reduce their costs, but Prolific Academic have stated they are introducing a justification system shortly. This will mean they have to justify why they are rejecting a candidate, which I think will be a big positive to those who use it.
One thing they do which is different to other survey sites is – they offer you the option to donate the money to charity. I remember reading a comment on another survey site review which stated that some complete surveys online to keep the mind active, i.e. they were discussing their elderly mum.
They may not be completing surveys to make money but as a bit of brain training, they could then donate to charity and fill in some fun surveys.
The screenshot below shows that i have completed these 2 surveys, but are awaiting review. There is option to receive the reward – which shows as add to personal balance or you can leave it to charity. The only information I cannot find on their website is, which charity gets the reward if you choose that option?
The next image shows how the dashboard updates after the review
it shows the researchers have approved the 3 I did on the 9th, as it can take a while to update, but if they do not approve after 21 days, Prolific auto-approve it. so 4 studies earned £2.51.
Now that may not sound like a lot of money, but given their payment threshold is only £5, I’m halfway there in 4 days. Some others have a threshold of £40 and you will probably take weeks to get there.
My experience with this has been that you don’t tend to get surveys drop-down over the weekend, but i have had at least a couple per day in the week.
- Only given Surveys that you can take part in, most sites offer you loads of surveys but get rejected after a couple of questions with little or no reward.
- Low £5 threshold to get paid* (there are fees if you withdrawal this low)
- Surveys are easy to complete and they give you the background about the survey, especially the scientific ones including who is completing the survey
- The rewards for the surveys are better than a lot of other survey sites, feels better when you know you can reach the withdrawal threshold easier.
- You can complete a survey, but then get rejected by the researcher meaning you lose the reward. This can also lead to you losing some of your prolific score
- Pre-Screening Questions can take a while, but worth it in the end
They have a FAQ which covers off the majority of any questions you may have as both a participant and a researcher. Support is also offered in the form of an email form to contact them. My main advice would be to ensure you read everything very clearly prior to starting a survey and particularly before closing a survey down. Some will want you to give them your Prolific ID, this not only helps with the payment, but also, they use this number instead of them using any personal information about you. Don’t add it, they may not pay you.
There is no fee to use this system and one thing I really liked is the £5 threshold for payment and the surveys rewards are in line with the majority of survey sites with the added benefit of not being rejected. I completed 3 surveys and it came to a reward of £1.75. It took be about 10 + 20 rejected to get that at Swagbucks.
There is obviously the point about researchers having to accept your answer prior to it being added to your balance, but do the surveys properly and you shouldn’t be at risk. Prolific will auto authorise after 21-days if the researcher hasn’t actioned either way.
The £5 threshold is a great option and would be an easy target to set, however you must take note of the fees if you withdraw less than £20.
They offer 2 ways of withdrawing your money – PayPal and Circle.
Below £20, the fees are:
Circle – cash-out charges are 1% + 10p fee.
PayPal – 2.9% + 20p fee.
They tend to pay out on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Whilst using survey sites is not a great way of earning a great deal, it is a great way of making some extra cash, especially with Christmas on the way. The surveys are fun and have a scientific purpose with their reasoning for the surveys on display. They only display surveys that you are eligible for and they will not kick you out of a survey unlike other surveys sites. I find the bit about the researchers being able to reject you even though you have completed a survey a bit naughty, as you may have spent 20 minutes filling in a survey, only to find you don’t get rewarded for it. However, I like the fact they are bringing in a justification system for this.
It has a really low threshold for withdrawal at £5, but this does come with fees.
Overall, I think this is a great survey site and focuses on the surveys rather than other things like too many survey providers
If you have any experience with Prolific Surveys or have any questions, then please ask it in the comments below and I will endeavour to answer it.
Ease of Use9.0 /10
Earning Money Potential5.0 /10
Overall Quality8.0 /10
- They only show relevant surveys that you get to complete
- Low £5 Withdrawal Threshold
- Surveys are easy to complete, with background information
- Relatively good rewards compared to competitors
- Researcher could reject your answers even though you have completed the survey affecting your Prolific Score
- Pre-Screening questions can take a while to complete
- Not really a viable work from home job