Contacting your participants directly can be useful if you need to know more about a participant's submission, or you want to notify certain participants of a follow-up study. This article will tell you how to do this by using either our internal messaging system, or by sending an email from your registered email address.
Please note that you cannot ask participants for any personally identifiable information, including their personal email address. You can read more about this here. All communication with participants must take place via either of the two options below.
Using our internal messaging system to contact participants
You can send messages to individual participants (via their ID), a list of participants (via a comma-separated list of IDs), or in bulk to all participants who took part in a study.
Messaging an individual participant:
Click on the 'MESSAGES' tab on your dashboard (or click here), and click the compose message button:
Enter the Prolific ID of the participant you wish to contact in the 'User ID' field, write your message and click 'Send'
Alternatively, you can find the participants submission in your submissions list and click the 'Send message' button on the right-hand side of the submission:
Finally, you can simply reply directly to any messages you've received from participants from your Prolific inbox.
Messaging multiple participants simultaneously
From your study's Submissions page, you have the option to message a comma-separated list of Prolific IDs in bulk. To do this, click the 'More' drop-down menu above your listed submissions, then go to 'Bulk message':
Enter the list of Prolific IDs in the top field (comma separated), and the message you wish to send in the bottom:
Alternatively, you can message selected participants from your study's Submissions page, by selecting participants with the tick box on the left-hand side and clicking 'Message selected'. This may be useful for sending custom reminders for longitudinal studies.
Messaging all participants in a study
You also have the option to click 'Message all' from your Submissions page, which will send a message to all participants who have a submission in that study (including Returned and Timed Out submissions):
Using email to send messages
You can also send emails to participants from your external email client, by using an email address of the form 'email@example.com'.
- For example, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the participant '58dbb652520ca20001e87f23' will receive the email as if you sent them a message through the Prolific interface.
Some important things to note:
- Participants do not have a Prolific email account, this is just provided as a way for our researchers to contact participants while outside of the site. This email address will not function like a typical email account.
- In order for the email to get through to the participant, the email address from which you send an email using an external client must be registered to a Prolific account.
- The messaging system cannot be used for running studies; we recommend the 'Schedule Publish' feature. This means only scheduling one study per session in advance. Or otherwise send the emails as messages directly through Prolific, as explained above.
- Messages are formatted in plain text and we therefore advise that you send plain text emails. If you send a rich text or HTML email to a participant, please be aware that there may be formatting inconsistencies due to the plain text conversion.
Can I send attachments via the messaging system?
Unfortunately, our system is not set up to allow message attachments at present. We ask that any information that needs to be shared with participants is done within the study itself wherever possible.
How does it work for participants?
How can I remove messages from my inbox?
You have the ability to Archive messages, so that they are removed from your Prolific inbox when no further action is required. To do this simply select the check box to the left of the message and then click 'Archive' at the top of the message list.