A 'returned' submission means that the participant decided to leave your study early, or withdraw their submission after completing your study. A participant may return their submission for a number of reasons, including:
- They experience technical difficulties and do not want to/cannot proceed
- They get partway into your study and decide they don't want to take part
- They withdraw consent for you to use their data
- They receive a request from you to return their submission (instead of receiving a rejection, if it isn't appropriate to approve it)
When a participant returns their submission, their space in the study is immediately re-opened so that another participant may take their place. Returned submissions are excluded from your total number of requested submissions, and you do not have to pay unless you manually choose to do so (by selecting the green tick to approve it).
You do not need to take any action on a returned submission, but it's worth taking note if your study has a large number of returned submissions. It can be a sign that your study has technical problems, and you should investigate further (perhaps by contacting some participants who returned their submissions to ask why).
Returned submissions do not affect a participants Approval Rating, so a participant may decide to return their submission rather than have it rejected.
Researchers cannot return submissions, but you may decide to ask a participant to return their submission rather than reject it (if you have already rejected it, you can unreject it). You can read our article 'Return vs. Reject' about how to do this.
Similarly, if you want to offer partial payment to participants you should request that they return their submission, by sending them a message.
Participants can return submissions from their Submissions page, by selecting the red circular arrow to 'Return + cancel reward'.