How is Prolific different from MTurk & Co?

For a more detailed, side-by-side breakdown of how Prolific compares to MTurk, check out our Prolific vs MTurk comparison page.

But in a nutshell, this is how Prolific is different from MTurk and other crowdsourcing platforms:

  • Flexible prescreening: You can specify various prescreening filters prior to launching your study (e.g., nationality, first language, ethnicity, political affiliation, socio-economic status, etc.), so participants don't get screened out while talking part. We can implement new, custom demographic filters anytime.
  • Participant naïveté: You can get unique participants each time (i.e., you can easily exclude people who have previously taken part) and you can filter by number of studies completed. Plus, we have algorithms in place to fairly allocate study spaces, which means that our pool doesn't suffer as much from non-naïveté(Chandler et al., 2015)
  • Diversity: we offer an international participant pool (MTurk nowadays only offers US Americans) and we're very transparent about the composition of our pool.
  • High quality: We have many mechanisms in place to ensure a high quality of our pool. If you want to learn more, please feel free to reach out.
  • Ethical research practices: We protect and value our participant pool and enforce minimum payments which are consistent with research ethic’s guidelines which means you have access to a large, motivated and diverse participant pool.
  • Lower cost: While offering all of the above, we're very low-cost as compared to other services. We charge 33.33% commission whereas MTurk charges 40%.

In addition, there are some further important aspects to consider:

  • Participation of minors is prohibited. Our Terms and Conditions explicitly state that participants have to be at least 18 years old to take part in studies on Prolific. However, if you go the step 3 ("prescreening") in the researcher dashboard, you will notice that there are some registered participants who are younger than 18. Essentially, these users are violating our Ts&Cs. We recommend that you simply apply our age filter to screen them out.
  • Participants are not employees of Prolific. We do not consider our participants as our employees in any way; they simply volunteer for research projects and earn rewards, which is covered by UK tax law. To make sure that our participants don't turn into professional survey takers, we have a rate limiting mechanism in place that distributes studies as evenly as possible across the entire participant pool.

Also, two independent scientific papers have recently been published in 2017 and 2018, showing Prolific's advantages over MTurk and Crowdflower.

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