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Return vs. Reject: When should I ask a participant to return their submission?

Asking a participant to return a submission

  • Sometimes a participant hasn't returned their submission, but it is appropriate to use our messaging system to ask a participant to return it, rather than reject it. For example, if:

- they only took a part of your study (and didn't complete it);

- they encountered technical problems (in which case, please consider awarding partial payments); 

- they withdrew their consent (in which case please also delete any data that you have from that participant in your external software); or

- you feel they should be given the opportunity to return their submission for another reason, rather than be penalised with a rejection.

  • Participants can return submissions from their Submissions page, by selecting the red circular arrow to 'Return + cancel reward'.
  • A researcher cannot return submissions.
  • Please allow the participant at least 5 days to respond to your request. 

Rejecting a submission

  • A rejected submission is when, after you have reviewed your data, you have determined that there is a valid reason to reject (and penalise) the participant.
  • The participant must have shown negligence in one of the following ways:

- they completed your study exceptionally quickly, i.e. their response time is 3 standard deviations below average;

- they skipped crucial questions, or questions that are inevitable to answering your research question;

- they failed one or multiple fair attention checks (please refer to our guidance on using attention checks as a measure of data quality); or

- they did not sufficiently engage in a task where the required level of engagement was clearly specified.

  • Please review all submissions holistically and remember that participants have spent time and effort taking your study.
  • Participants are penalised for rejections and, if they receive too many, they will be removed from the pool, so please only reject a participant if you have evidence of negligence!

I've mistakenly rejected a submission instead of asking the participant to return it, what should I do?

  1. You should 'unreject' their submission and send a message to let them know they can 'return' it.
  2. The submission will then show as 'awaiting review.'
  3. When a submission is returned, that spot opens back up in your study so that another participant can take part and you don't miss out on getting all the data you need!
  4. If you don't hear back from participants after a reasonable period, our Support team can assist you with returning submissions.

Helpful to know...

  • You will only be able to reverse a rejection if you have enough funds in your account to approve the submission. If necessary, you can top-up with additional funds, then request a refund.
  • If you 'unreject' a submission after 21 days, the submission status would return to 'awaiting review'. It would then be automatically approved within 24 hours, or you can approve it manually before then.

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