The concept of taking surveys for money has been around for a while. However, from my experience, most of these sites either ask for too much and reward too little or have been difficult to use for another reason. However, I heard good things about Prolific and I gave it a shot. From my experience, not only was answering surveys a painless process compared to other websites, but making money, only if a little, was actually feasible.
What is Prolific?
Prolific is a website where researchers can share their studies to the public in order to obtain responses. The wide outreach is great for researchers who need tons of data for their study. Participants can then participate in these studies and get paid for them. They also benefit since they are being compensated for contributing to scientific studies and sharing their information.
Signing Up and Getting Started
Signing up was simple and straightforward. Enter your login credentials and you are ready to move onto the next stage. You will enter a brief training session that will only take a few minutes. This session tells you how the site works and how to fill out surveys. You will be assigned a unique ID called a Prolific ID which you will use to answer surveys. The ID will at the very most, link your submitted data to the demographic data collected by the researcher and help them filter out results, but it will not reveal anything personal about you.
After your training ends, you will then be required to verify your identity and answer some questions about yourself. Verifying your identity just proves that you are a real human taking these surveys and not a bot to ensure that the data is authentic. There are 3 steps to verifying your identity: Verifying your email, verifying your phone number, and providing a piece of ID and a selfie. It may sound like a lot, but this is to ensure that the users are real people. The questionnaires you answer are for sending you surveys that are relevant to you. There are several questionnaires to fill out such as your finances, the technology you use, your basic demographic data, and your hobbies.
Now that you have filled out information about yourself, surveys will soon come to your inbox. When you get a survey, you will get the chance to read about it and reserve a spot. Reserving a spot ensures you are guaranteed the opportunity to answer the survey. After that, follow the instructions and start answering questions. It is important that you answer honestly and put effort into your responses as researchers are dependent on the data being authentic. If the researcher finds any attempts to hastily complete a survey with little effort, you may risk getting your responses rejected. Some surveys will even have questions that ask you to answer a question with a specific answer (eg. “Please select ‘strongly agree’ to this question”) to check if you are being attentive.
Surveys can be of varying lengths ranging from only a few minutes to more than half an hour. What I like about the smaller surveys is that since they are so quick to complete, I do them when I have free time between things or when I am bored.
You also need to be cautious about some surveys as well. During your training, Prolific will warn you that you should report surveys that ask for information that they cannot ask for. The questions they cannot ask are ones that ask for personally identifying information such as your name, your address, or even links to your social media profiles. You can learn more in the support article here. Even though you should be honest when answering surveys, you should also not be answering questions that ask for personal information like the ones mentioned above.
After completing a survey, your responses have to be approved or rejected by the researcher. If your responses are approved, you will be paid. If they are rejected, you will be paid the first few times, but repeated offenses will be seen as a red flag to Prolific. In order to cash out, you will need to earn at least 5 British pounds to do so. When you cash out, you will need to confirm your payment to your PayPal account and soon, you will get money in your account. Below is a proof of one of my payments.
Overall, while Prolific is obviously not a way to get rich, it is certainly a way to earn a little bit of money on the side. By answering questions, you are helping researchers complete their projects and contributing to the fields of knowledge. In return, you are compensated for your time and data. If you are interested in this, consider giving Prolific a shot.