We strongly advise running a pilot study before launching your main study, to test it out on a small number of participants. This is especially important if you haven't run a similar study before.
Why should I run a pilot study?
Amongst other reasons...
- To double-check that all the technical aspects of your study are working
- To gain an insight into the types of responses participants will give
- To make sure your estimated completion time has been set accurately.
How can I run a pilot study on Prolific?
- Once you've created your survey/experiment using an external platform, create a new study on Prolific.
- Set how many participants you are looking to recruit to be a small proportion of the sample you eventually want to get. For most studies, we recommend piloting on 5-10 participants, but you might want to recruit even fewer if your study is very complex.
- You may wish to let participants know in the study description that your study is a pilot and that they may experience problems! Participants always appreciate transparency, and this may increase their motivation to give helpful feedback!
- If you’d like detailed feedback, you could target participants who are experienced users. To do this, use the 'approval rate' and 'number of previous submissions' prescreeners to get participants with a high number of approved submissions.
- Once you're ready to launch your main study after making any necessary changes to your survey/experiment, you have two options:
- Duplicate this pilot study and exclude the participants from your pilot sample.
- Increase places on your existing study. This will re-open the study to resume data collection.
And that's it - happy piloting!