How much time will participants have to complete my study?

Maximum Time Allowed

  • We set a "Maximum Time Allowed" for each study based on your Estimated Completion Time
  • If participants go over this time limit, then their submission could be Timed out and their place opened up to a new participant.

Can participants still complete their submission if they go over the time limit?

  • Yes, if they are still active in the study and are not replaced by another participant before they complete it, then their submission would not result in being 'timed out'.

Will maximum time allowed penalise those who take longer to complete my study? 

  • No, the time we set is higher than the estimated time to avoid unfairly excluding participants who take longer to complete it than average.

Can I set an absolute maximum completion time for my study?

  • You can programme this within your survey software.
  • Make sure you clearly communicate this to your participants using your study description. 

Can I reject participants that go over my absolute maximum completion time?

  • Only if the time limit is crucial to valid completion of your study.
  • You cannot set an arbitrary maximum completion time and reject participants who go over this, even if the limit is clearly specified in advance.

What should I do if a participant has timed-out, but completed my study?

  • You may find a complete response from a participant in your external software. But, their submission has also been Timed out on Prolific. 
  • This might have occurred for all sorts of innocent reasons including:
    • Technical issues/unforeseen circumstances. 
    • The time needed to complete your study may have been much higher than your estimate, so the maximum time was not enough.

Recommended Action

  • Where there is clear evidence that the participant tried to complete your study in good faith, please manually approve their submissions as much as possible.
  • Please do this especially in cases where the study's completion time has been underestimated.
  • Our support team may be in contact with you if we believe a timed-out submission deserves to be approved.


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