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Study cost

This is step four in our step-by-step guide to setting up a study on Prolific.

Video tutorial

What you'll see


How long will your study take to complete?

Here you can provide an estimated completion time for your study. Your estimated reward per hour is based on this time, so it's very important to estimate this accurately and in good faith to avoid misleading participants or causing your study to fall below our minimum payment rate.

If you're not sure how long it will take to complete your study on average, try testing it on some of your friends / colleagues, or run a small pilot study on Prolific before recruiting your full sample!

The estimated completion time must written as a whole minute (e.g. 5 or 6 minutes, not 5.5).

Please note that if you underestimate the completion time for your study, you may be asked to provide additional payment to participants. You can read more about this here: How do I resolve underpaying studies?

Maximum allowed time

Prolific also sets a maximum allowed time for your study. This can be seen to the right of your study's estimated completion time and is set automatically based on your study's estimated completion time. It is designed to give all participants plenty of time to complete your study successfully.

Please note that participants who go over this time and are inactive may become timed out on Prolific and replaced by another participant. Participants who go over this time can still complete your study if they are still active. More information about this can be found here.

How much do you want to pay them?

Prolific strongly endorses the principle of ethical rewards. That is, researchers must reward participants with at least £6.00 / $8.00 per hour, although we recommend you pay participants at least £9 / $12 per hour. You can read more about this here: Prolific's payment principles.

Here you can state how much you will pay participants for completing your study. Base rewards are fixed at the amount you set, so all participants will receive the same amount regardless of their completion time.

Please note that you can increase payment to participants (e.g. if your study becomes underpaying, or you wish to offer bonus payments), but this figure cannot be reduced once the study is launched.

There is further guidance on participant payments here: Paying participants.

Hourly rate

Here you can see the reward per hour rate for your study, based upon your estimated completion time and participant payment amount.


Here you can see a breakdown of the total study cost. This will show how the total cost is split between participant payments, service fees and VAT (if applicable). Please note that the cost breakdown will only be available if you have stated your desired number of participants in the 'audience' section above.


Here you can see the impact of this study cost on your remaining workspace balance. This only considers the available balance in the workspace, which is the balance that is not currently reserved for other studies.

 Next step: Saving your study as a draft

 Previous step: Audience

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