What are 'returned' studies?

What does it mean when I "Return" a submission or a study shows in my list of submissions with the status "Returned"?

Returning a study means deciding to leave the study early. This withdraws your participation in the study and means you will not be paid for this study. It will not affect your Prolific account or ability to participate in more studies in any way.

A submission will be Returned if you click "Cancel Reservation" before the study begins or "Stop without Completing" on Prolific during the study.

For example you might Return your study if you realise you don't have time to complete it, or are using the wrong kind of device for the study. This frees up another place and means that you can no longer complete that study.

Very occasionally if there has been a technical reason why you did not complete the study a submission will show as Returned in order to remove these submissions and not penalise you (the participant).

No action is required by you in these cases.

What if a researcher asks me to Return a study?

Occasionally, researchers will ask participants to return studies. This is rare, and should only happen if there's been a technical problem with a study that means participants weren't able to fully complete it.

If you feel you're being unfairly asked to return a study, then feel free to drop the Prolific Support Team a message. When you do, please make sure to include any screenshots of messages between you and the researcher, as these will help us with any next steps.

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