Can I ask Participants for their Personal Information/Identifiers?

We take privacy and the maintenance of participant anonymity seriously at Prolific.

Here is a list of information which you cannot ask participants for:

  1. First and/or Last Name
  2. Address
  3. Date of Birth
  4. Phone Number
  5. 9 digit ZIP code or full UK postcode
    • However, you can ask for a 5 digit ZIP code or the first half of a UK postcode
  6. Links to social media accounts or posts.
    • These may contain participant information or images eg. Twitter/Facebook/Instagram
  7. Email Address
    • However, you can ask for participants' Prolific email which will look like '' and can be used like a regular email to run multi part studies that require you to contact participants

Should you need to contact participants, we have a Prolific messaging and email system in place to ensure anonymity is protected. You can read more about our messaging and email system in this article.

  • Some information about messaging participants:
    • Our messaging/email system helps to ensure that participant anonymity is protected
    • Messages should only be sent to participants regarding matters directly related to a study
    • Researchers may not request any information that may potentially deanonymize participants
    • Participants cannot be contacted for marketing or sales purposes under any circumstances

We also have some guidelines surrounding deception studies that may require the disclosure of personal information.

  • If you wish to run a 'deception study' which asks for any of the identifiers listed above, it is essential that you use the 'Deception' prescreening filter
  • You may not actually record or store any personal information
  • You must provide participants with a comprehensive debrief after the study
  • If you wish to run a deception study, please contact us prior to publishing the study

There may be some other cases where your study design requires the collection of personal data. In this case, please get in touch with Prolific Support to discuss which approaches might be possible.

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