Word of mouth and social media are our primary means of participant recruitment.
When Prolific was founded in 2014, Prolific participants were recruited via three channels:
- Social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and various other online forums).
- Flyer distribution on university campuses
- The Prolific referral scheme (ceased as of March 2019). This allowed participants to invite their social network to join Prolific, in return for small cash incentives for the referrer.
On Prolific, we endorse the principle of 'ethical rewards'. That is, we stipulate that researchers compensate participants with at least £6 (British Pounds) / $8 (US Dollars) per hour.
You can read more about the Prolific pricing structure here.
Publicising of studies to participants
Prolific has a prescreening system in place. This allows for efficient allocation of study spaces, and efficient time use of all involved parties.
- Participants have the option to answer prescreening questions based on demographics and other factors (e.g., age, sex, nationality, first language)
- Prior to launching a study on Prolific, researchers can choose to filter participants based on prescreening criteria
- This system prevents researchers from screening participants out of a study after they have commenced participation
Prolific security systems protect participant data and confidentiality in the following ways:
- Prolific uses encrypted HTTPS connections, secured by Transport Layer Security (TLS).
- They are assigned a unique participant ID (24 character alphanumeric). Participants are fully anonymised.
- Prolific provides an anonymised internal messaging service that allows participants to message researchers (and vice versa) with any concerns.
- Clear guidance is provided on what information researchers cannot request. It can be found in our article: Can I ask Participants for their Personal Information/Identifiers? Researchers cannot access participants’ identifiable information.
- User data is stored in a secure cloud container environment.
- Passwords are hashed using industry-approved technologies. They are stored securely and can not be viewed by Prolific.
- These are carried out on external study software/platforms. We do not store any data provided within studies.
- Participants are free to opt-out at any time, and we are fully GDPR compliant.