Join our mailing list to find out more ways to make and save money with little time and effort.


Prolific Academic Review: Take Surveys for Academic Research and Earn Cash

Prolific Academic Review: Take Surveys for Academic Research and Earn Cash
Amy Boyington Jan 24, 2018
Want to Earn Some Extra Money?

In the world of online surveys, it can be difficult for you to weed out the good from the bad. Trust me – I know there are a lot of bad ones out there.

But, the one I’m going to talk to you about in this article may surprise you. It’s called Prolific Academic, and it’s far from being the most well-known paying online survey site around. Still, it’s one of the best.

If you want to learn how to make some extra cash online with a paying survey site, you’ve come to the right place. Click the link here to check out the Prolific Academic site:

I invite you to stick around and read through this article to get an idea of how it all works and whether the site is a good one for you, personally, to try.

What is Prolific Academic?

Prolific Academic, although it sounds like one of those writing sites where you can write essays and papers for students for pennies, is an online survey site. The site was started in 2014, making it one of the newest survey sites on the scene.

A PhD student named Katia founded the website with a friend to find more participants for her research.

Together, they created Prolific Academic, which aims to be a simple platform for researchers to use to recruit participants to aid their studies. Technically, the site is now called Prolific to cover the wide variety of research studies that it finds participants for.

Who Can Join Prolific?

Prolific is open to any country that accepts PayPal as a form of payment. But, as with most survey sites, those in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada tend to have the most opportunities available to them.

You also must be at least 18 years old and have the legal authority to agree to binding contracts.

How Does Prolific Work?

Prolific is similar to other survey sites when it comes to the basics. Sign up, fill out your details, and verify your email address to get set up.

Then, you can start scrolling through your dashboard to find surveys that are available to you. You might only see pre-screening questionnaires, especially when you first sign up.

The questions are added by researchers in need of participants and they help the researchers find out who is a good match for their studies.

If that’s what you see, go ahead and fill them out, because these are what will help you become eligible for more studies later on.

When a survey becomes available to you, you’ll see it on your dashboard. The site will give you some helpful information, such as how much it pays, what it’s about, and how long it should take you to complete.

Look over the information and make sure you have the amount of time necessary to finish the survey without interruptions.

Prolific will review your responses and grade you on a scale that reaches 100. This is called your Prolific Score. The higher the number, the better your score.

Your Prolific Score gets based on how accurately you answered the questions based on the quality control questions you answer during the survey. If you keep your score at 100, or close to it, you can become eligible for more surveys.

Keep an eye on your email inbox, through which you’ll get notified when new surveys become available.

Why Does Prolific Need My Help?

Most survey sites match market researchers with consumers to help shape products, services, and brands. However, Prolific needs your responses for a different reason.

You’ll help shape the academic or scientific research of real researchers. They even need to sign up using a university or college email address to prove that they’re legitimate researchers.

Much like founder Katia, the researchers involved in the process need participants for their studies. Over 2,000 researchers have used the site to create thousands of surveys that have helped shape important research, and you get to be a part of that as a Prolific member.

How Do I Get Paid from My Work with Prolific?

Prolific pays you with PayPal cash for your accepted surveys. You must have a valid PayPal account on file with Prolific to receive payments.

Once you complete a survey, your responses will go to the researcher to review. A researcher has up to 21 days to approve your survey, but most of the time, you can expect approval in one to three days.

If your researcher is unresponsive after the 21-day time limit, Prolific will automatically approve it and release funds.

Your payment depends on several factors, such as how in-depth the study is, how much the researcher pays, and how long it will take you. You can see how much you’ll make from a survey in the details section before you begin.

When you have £5 (just under $7 USD) in your account, you can request a payment. PayPal payments can take up to five business days to reach your account.

Is Prolific Right for Me?

Prolific can be an excellent survey site for people who just want something different besides the usual consumer surveys. The studies here are unique, varied, and can potentially hold your interest more than talking about your favorite food or mobile app.

Plus, your answers aid in real scientific and academic research, which is exciting.

If you don’t live in the UK, Canada, or the US, though, you may be disappointed in the lack of opportunities you receive. It seems that most people who have a somewhat steady stream of invites live in one of these locations.

Pros and Cons of Prolific

Prolific is quickly becoming a favorite paying survey site of avid survey takers. It certainly has a lot going for it, but there are, of course, a few flaws too.

Pros of Prolific:
  • Prolific offers a wide variety of survey types for research in different industries. You won’t get bored answering the same questions about the same types of products here.
  • Low minimum payment threshold of £5.
  • Most surveys are fairly short, not taking more than 20 minutes, but still have generous payout amounts compared to other survey sites.
  • Your pre-screening answers help you get matched with the best surveys so that you won’t waste 10 minutes or more qualifying for surveys just to be told you don’t meet the requirements.
  • You’ll know an estimated time that it will take you to complete a survey before you begin so you can make sure you have the time available.
Cons of Prolific:
  • Although the minimum threshold for Prolific is £5, you’ll still incur a fee if you cash out anything with PayPal in the U.S. because of the process to convert pounds to USD. But, this is more of a con with using PayPal, as Prolific has no control over the fees it charges.
  • You may need to wait a while between surveys to get more offers, and those in some countries may never get a survey opportunity.
  • There are no opportunities for rewards, like gift cards or prizes; you will only get paid in PayPal cash, or you can choose the newer payment method, Circle.

Is Prolific Any Different from Other Survey Sites?

All survey sites are the same – or so you think. Prolific is different in a few ways that make it stand out from the pack.

Earn Money for Charity

I know that earning money for charity doesn’t necessarily sound that exciting to everyone. After all, you’re most likely joining the site to earn money for yourself. However, I like that Prolific at least gives you the option to spend your time making money for your favorite charities.

Perhaps you can’t afford a lot of out-of-pocket donations. This gives you a way to still donate to those in need without spending your own money when you have your own bills to pay.

All you have to do is take some surveys to make a difference. At least the option is there.

Good Chances to Qualify

Through my research on Prolific, one of the perks I’ve heard about most from members is they love that they don’t waste a ton of time qualifying for studies. And, the ones that they do get matched with initially are usually ones that they can qualify for.

I’ve been a part of a lot of survey sites. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s spending 15+ minutes just answering qualifying questions, only to be told that I don’t match the needs for the survey.

Some survey sites don’t even give you a penny for your time to do this. Prolific seems to have one of the highest qualification rates of online survey sites.

You’ll Help Inform Academic and Scientific Research

With Prolific, you’ll actually be a part of important research. That’s not to say that giving your opinions as a consumer to help shape brands and products isn’t important.

But, the type of stuff you’ll be involved with at Prolific can be pretty exciting and motivating. The answers you provide to this site can potentially be more meaningful and inspiring than other, more general survey sites.

What Do Prolific Reviews Say About It?

Take a quick look around the web at other reviews and discussions by members and you’ll see much of the same things I’ve said already.

Members don’t have many negative things to say about the site and applaud it for being one of the survey sites that they can rely on for somewhat steady extra pay.

I suggest checking out the Prolific reddit thread, which offers payment proofs from members and helpful discussions that can help you navigate the website and process. Also, this thread on the Beer Money Forums has several positive posts from members.

What Are the Best Features of Prolific?

Although Prolific stays simple by remaining a survey site and not dabbling in other forms of rewards, there are some helpful features that set it apart from similar sites.

Quick, Easy PayPal Payments

I love PayPal. It’s probably the easiest way to get paid online. You get your payments quickly and can transfer them to your chosen bank account within one business day in most cases.

I’m much more apt to join a money-making site if it offers PayPal payments as a reward. Prolific keeps things simple by offering PayPal payments as a reward if you don’t decide to donate to charity.

Once your money is available in your account and you have at least £5, you can request your payment. Just be sure to claim your payment through your email account so that Prolific can release it to PayPal.

Low Cashout Threshold

While many survey sites make you wait to receive your rewards until you obtain an almost unreachable amount of money or points, Prolific only requires £5 in your account.

Since studies here typically pay $2 or more, you can potentially make that much during your first day as a member.

This low threshold is especially beneficial for you if you want to try out the website and decide it’s not necessarily the best choice for you. You can make your £5 relatively quickly, cash out, and move onto something else.

Excellent Support Team

The Prolific support team is quick to answer questions and provide help when members need it. In fact, this is another one of the common praises of Prolific.

The team answers support tickets quickly and seem to assist members in any way they can, rather than leave them hanging for days like some survey sites.

You can also likely find much of the help you might need on the site itself. The support guides for participants are thorough and can address most of the common questions members have.

Occasional High-Paying Surveys

Like most survey sites, you might qualify for some studies that offer more pay than others. This usually depends on the complexity of the answers you need to provide and how long the study will take you to complete.

If you’re lucky enough to qualify for a long research study, you could make $10 or more for a survey. According to members, these surveys aren’t as few and far between as some other survey sites, and you might have an easier time qualifying for them.

Referral Program

Prolific now has a referral program that gives you an opportunity to make even more money in addition to participating in studies. You can make money from both participants and researchers who join with your link.

When a participant joins and starts earning cash with surveys, you’ll earn 10% of his earnings. When a researcher joins and creates a study worth at least £50, you can get £20 (just over $27!).

The researcher will also get an extra £10 added to his account, which may help convince more of them to sign up under your link.

How Much Money Can I Make with Prolific?

The money you earn with Prolific will largely depend on where you live and how well you meet the needs of the researchers and their studies.

To get an approximate idea of how much one can earn on the site, I read through some of the discussions on reddit.

Several people say that when surveys are available for them, they may have a few days of getting two to three invites per day, but then a few days with none. We’ll say that, on average, you can expect to get two surveys per week, or eight in a month.

Let’s assume that each survey is about £2, which most of them are. That’s £16 per month, or around $21. Of course, this is using the smaller scale to play it safe.

Some members are able to qualify for $100 to $300 worth of surveys on most months, especially if they continuously qualify for high-paying studies that pay $20 or more.

The best way to see how the site will work for you is to try it out, at least until you meet your £5 minimum cashout threshold. You’ll have a better idea of how many surveys you might qualify for and how much they pay on average.

Is Prolific Legit or a Scam?

Prolific is a legitimate survey site that you can trust to make timely payments and use your information the way you intended for research purposes.

The only downfall I can see with the site is that you may have to wait a while between surveys. Most people shouldn’t expect to consistently make hundreds of dollars each month.

However, for a source of extra money, this site offers everything you need. There are plenty of payment screenshots from members online that prove the site pays what it owes you and does so on time.

How Can I Sign Up for Prolific?

To sign up for Prolific, visit the site and click the Sign Up button near the top. Be sure to double check that you are signing up as a participant and not a researcher.

Once you fill out your basic information, you’ll need to verify both your email address and phone number. Your phone number is strictly used for verification, not to spam you with phone calls and texts.

You can optionally verify your Facebook account, too, which might help you qualify for more surveys from researchers who prefer this method of verification from participants.

Final Thoughts

Prolific is one of the top survey sites I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys participating in research for cash. It’s different than most survey-taking sites and your answers help shape important research.

If you decide you don’t really need the money, you can even donate your earnings to charity.

Of course, the site may not provide a lot of surveys to people who live in certain areas or don’t meet common demographics. In that case, you might want to check out some of our other articles that list the best survey sites on the web:

As always, we’d love to hear your experiences with Prolific. Feel free to drop a comment and share your thoughts!

Amy Boyington

Comments (2)

Great tutorial. One thing I learned with Prolific is that you actually need to be online. Unlike other Survey sites which send you survey notifications, prolific is way more interactive and new starters don’t know that. I started out wondering for a week what a crap site it is not giving me any surveys. The thing is that you actually need to have the website open and it will show you a survey when there is one available, and then you need to be quick to claim a spot before they are filled. There are also extensions that give you notification sounds when one is available so you can join before its gone. You gotta be quick. But it is by far one of the pest paying pages with the most fun and interactive survey. They usually pay about 50cent to 1 euro, sometimes even more if the survey is longer. And unlike other websites you do NOT get kicked out halfway through the survey because you ”don’t fit” in the survey anymore. You get a survey, you finish it, you get the money.

Hope I could help some people get started or clear confusion if you don’t get a survey. Would appreciate it much if you log in via my link if you are not registered yet!

Leave a Reply