Prolific – Make actual money with online studies

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Making Money

Prolific - Make actual money with online research


Like many of you, I’m always looking for easy ways to make a bit of weed money online, although, sadly, most online surveys “for cash” are a waste of time! I’ve dabbled with online earning stuff a little over the years, but was always disappointed.

Happily, however, I’ve recently discovered the Oxford University Innovation Software incubator-backed startup Prolific; the “world’s largest crowdsourcing community of people who love science”, apparently. I’ve earned £219.75 in just over two and a half months-ish (78 days) so far, by taking surveys (generally at least one every two days or so), while remaining logged in to the site ~16-18 hours a day…



Simply, make a free account, answer a few screening questions so Prolific know which studies you’re eligible for, then wait for them to be offered to you by various academics and startups. Studies we’ve taken so far (seeking insights on attitudes toward rape right through to perception of immigation, speed-reading comprehension, 3D roleplay mental health games and more) have taken between thirty seconds to ten minutes to complete, with payments ranging from 30p to £7.50.

Prolific pays out via PayPal, with an easy to achieve minimum of £5 to do so. My earnings might not seem a lot, but it’s taken very little time spent actually completing the surveys, has been quite enjoyable and paid for lunch every working day too! While submissions do have to be approved by the researcher before payment is made, it’s usually a speedy process. In the worst case, after 21 days they are automatically approved for payment.

Try it anyway, I’ve been pleasantly surprised so far! Let us know if you make money with Prolific and we might add a few more posts covering similar – yet even more lucrative – online earners…

Visit Prolific’s website


  1. Register as a ‘Participant’ on the Prolific website.
  2. Choose ‘Prescreening’ from the Prolific ‘Dashboard’ page. Answer all of the questions you want to – more is better.
  3. Download and install this Chrome extension – Visual Ping – from the Chrome Web Store (there’s an online version too which you can probably use if you prefer).
  4. Follow the extension’s instructions and set it up to monitor the main content box on Prolific’s ‘Studies’ page (i.e. under the heading, where the studies will appear as they’re offered). Select the time between scans, etc. as you prefer. Don’t set it to check every second or anything, every ten minutes or so works for me.
  5. Now, whenever your browser is open and you’re logged in to Prolific, you’ll get a pretty much instant notification whenever there’s an update. Be warned that there are a few false alarms sometimes too; for example, there’s usually two in a row after first logging in.


  • PayPal cashout fees are currently 2.9% + 20p.
  • Prolific has recently added the option to cashout via Circle, who I’ve not tried myself. Apparently, cashing out via this route instead of PayPal avoids charges on amounts over £20.
  • Circle cashout fees are currently 1% + 10p.
  • All my payouts so far have entered my PayPal account between 5-21 days after my request.
  • You can choose a different PayPal account for each payout, should you prefer.
  • View all your completed & pending studies via the ‘Manage Studies’ link on the ‘Dashboard’ page.
  • The figure under ‘Total Earned’ on the ‘Manage Studies’ page comprises total earnings from studies and bonuses, but does not include any affiliate payments.
  • You can view any affiliates and associated earnings by clicking the Prolific ‘Dashboard’ page’s ‘Referrals’ tab.


To provide a better idea of the payment range for studies, here’s how my earnings break down as of time of writing;

Payment Range For StudyNumber of Completed Studies
£0.10 – £0.9959
£1.00 – £1.9972
£2.00 – £2.9916
£3.00 – £3.992
£4.00 – £4.994
£5.00 – £5.996
£6.00 – £6.990
£7.00 – £7.992

I’ve also made £7.70 in bonuses awarded by satisfied researchers, plus £2.57 from affiliates.



  • If you’re a fast reader/ responder like I seem to be, keep an eye on the average time suggested for the test and consider slowing down a little if you’ve sped through – I’ve been only partially paid once as I completed the study in less than half the time of all other respondents.
  • Choose the ‘Open Study in New Window’ option when starting a study. This way you can keep an eye on the time counter while you’re taking the study.
  • Answer honestly and make sure you don’t rush and it’s fairly consistent, at least for me so far.
  • Studies fluctuate in availability, but stay logged in and jump on them when they do come in – I’ve been averaging around £2.82 per day, but I’m pretty hardcore at doing them whether at work or at home.
  • This is from the Prolific website: “In principle, anyone can sign up and participate. You’ll need to verify your email and a phone number or Facebook account before you can take part!”
  • Make sure to sign up as a ‘Participant’ (unless you’re planning on paying for others to take part in a study of your own)!
  • You can have more than one account for housemates/ family, but Prolific say they won’t offer a particular study to more than one of those accounts if so.
  • Prolific have a fairly satisfying privacy policy with regards to your personal data (which isn’t meant to be shared with the researchers, beyond the basic, non-identifying, info you supply as part of the studies).
  • They operate a trust score, so answer honestly and try to remember the majority of the studies are for genuine academic research purposes.
  • Provide considered, verbose, responses where relevant, as you can sometimes earn bonus payments. This is often noted in a study’s introductory notes.
  • The site can be slightly glitchy sometimes (I surmise it’s when a researcher sets a study to live then removes it quickly for editing, or something – others blame bots), but once you’re on a study, as long as you make sure to click the ‘Submit’ link at the end, you’ll get paid.
  • Your account will be flagged if you use a VPN and you’ll stop receiving survey offers. Contact Prolific’s support to discuss should this occur.
  • This is the message you’ll receive from Prolific if there are queries on your account – “Your account is currently under review and your payment has been paused for the moment. If there are discrepancies in your prescreening or verification please update them or contact us.”

Sign up to Prolific to try it out.

This tutorial grew out of a Reddit post I made, so thanks to all over there who chipped in with ideas and feedback.
Check our other tutorials here.

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