Live Video or Audio Interviews or Focus Groups - Step by Step

1) Use Prolific to recruit your participants.

  • For a video study, you can use one of our existing prescreeners (Webcam or Video Interview under Participation on Prolific) to only recruit amongst those who agreed to do video interviews.
  • If you wish to recruit a sample according to other requirements, you can run a short initial study in which you pay everyone for participation, then only re-invite those who meet the criteria for your main (second) study in which the call is scheduled and carried out.
  • Find out more about how to recruit a sample using the two study approach.

2) Write a study description that explains clearly what's involved

3) Use survey tool for consent form and a link to schedule the call

  • You can use any simple survey software for that (Surveymonkey and Typeform both provide free accounts for short surveys).
  • The link to the survey is what you provide under “Study link” in Prolific.
  • Those who do not consent should be asked to "return" their study spot.

4) Use a scheduling tool (e.g. Doodle or Calendly)

  • You'll need to sign up to a scheduling tool so that participants can book in their slot.
  • Some researchers use the scheduling form as their Study URL.
  • In this case, you can use the study description page and the description field of the scheduling tool to provide information about the study, and then include the consent form step as part of the call.
  • We do not have enough data to advise which approach works best so it's best to trial it and see what works best for your study.
  • Make sure to give an exit option at every step (for example you might include a sentence like "If you do not wish to take part in a live call, please close this tab and return your study spot").
  • We advise not scheduling calls immediately to give participants time to prepare.
  • A research group that ran focus groups on Prolific found that 3 hours in advance worked best for them.

5) After scheduling provide all participants with a completion link, but don't approve anyone yet

  • You can also provide a completion code for participants to enter manually if you cannot include links. More on this here.
  • It is important that submissions are registered as complete here rather than after your call, because unless the call starts immediately, your study would be flagged as underpaying.
  • However, please note that we will still run checks on video and audio studies such as this to check for underpayment, as fair and ethical rewards is an important principle of ours.

6) Use participants’ Prolific emails to send access links to the call

  • (eg. Skype, Zoom etc) and remind before the call.
  • You can read more on messaging participants here.

7) Ask for participants' Prolific IDs at the end of the call and approve only the submissions of those participants who took part in the call.

  • Contact participants who did not attend using the messaging system to find out what happened, and provide the opportunity for them to return their submission or reschedule if appropriate.


Make sure to calculate the estimated time & hourly rate fairly.

  • When calculating estimated time, include all the time it takes people to answer follow up questions and other actions around the call itself, not just the time on the call.
  • We advise paying a higher hourly rate than for surveys, as these studies require people to commit to a specific time and include more preparation. This is also likely to have a positive impact on participation rate.
  • Therefore, we recommend a minimum of 10GBP / $13/h.

Recording video or audio studies

  • Please bear in mind whether the particular site / tool you use for recording has all the functions you require e.g. length of recording time, ensuring participants cannot record, and consider whether you need to upgrade your account to have access to the features you require.
  • At all times make sure you do not collect any personal information.
  • Collection of personal information is not usually permitted on Prolific, so participants would need to be assured that any personal details if at all collected (e.g. Skype usernames) will only be used to contact them for the interview, and deleted as soon as this purpose has been fulfilled.
  • Advise your participants to schedule using their Prolific ID, change their Zoom/Skype name to their ID or an imaginary name.

Run a pilot study!

  • This really is essential for more complex studies, to check everything works smoothly and so you can make adjustments before you launch your main study.
  • You can read our Help Centre article about Running a pilot study.
Was this article helpful?
18 out of 19 found this helpful
powered by Typeform