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Prolific Practices and Security Systems

Participant recruitment

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:

  1. Social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and various other online forums).
  2. Flyer distribution on university campuses
  3. 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.

Study Rewards

On Prolific, we endorse the principle of 'ethical rewards'. That is, we stipulate that researchers compensate participants with at least ÂŁ6 (British Pounds) / $8 (US Dollars) per hour.
You can read more about the Prolific pricing structure here.

Publicising of studies to participants

Participants can take part in studies by visiting when logged into Prolific.
Participants are notified of studies they're eligible for by email and by using the Prolific Assistant.


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

Security Systems/Privacy

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.
  • 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. 
  • Please see Prolific’s Privacy Policy and Data Protection and Privacy article for more information.

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