Slow Recruitment for Studies

We have made some recent changes to the site which may have resulted in the recruitment being slightly slower than expected. We’re very sorry for any inconvenience this is causing you.

Our developer team are working on speeding this up again as soon as possible!

Let me know if you’re having any issues. The more context we have, the easier it will be to address :slight_smile:


I have posted a study over half an hour ago and up till now not even one person started it.

I have a custom pre-screening with over 6100 participants eligible and the reward was rated by the Prolific system as “good”.

The study is, essentially, a copy of a bunch pf studies I did on Prolific in February (with modifications within the questionnaire but not study description nor in its parameters) so they should not influence recruitment. The previous study had the participants’ list half full after half an hour.
Now: nothing. I’m worried if I’ll be able to conduct the study at all.

Due to the nature of the study (participants playing a peculiar research game), I’d prefer to be able to reply to participant messages while they are doing the study. This means I need to be online checking for messages on Prolific while the study is open. Previously it meant remaining online for 2-4 hours. Now I can’t even estimate, because I’ve yet to see even one participant.

Could you help me with that or do you have any tips on what I should do for this study to take off?

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Hey @Agnieszka_Mulak, welcome to the community! I’m so sorry that you’re having trouble :frowning:

Our technical team is investigating this issue, so it would be really helpful if you could submit a support request about this so we can access your account to fix this.

Once you get a support ticket number, let me know and I’ll get it prioritised :slight_smile:

Hi, I’m new to Prolific. Is it normal for a survey seeking 25 participants, with 4,593 eligible participants, to take 5 hours? (Middle of the day)


Hey @Bram, welcome to the community!

No, it shouldn’t take that long. I see that your studies have now completed (unless I’m mistaken?). I’ll log this as another study that has been slow to recruit as we investigate this issue :slight_smile:

Thanks Josh, yes they’ve completed. I think every study I’ve created has been affected by this issue. The first study I created sought one participant and took almost three hours. Could you share a bit more about when this issue might be resolved?

Unfortunately, I can’t give a concrete timeline. The team has just completed a systematic review, and it’s still not clear what is causing this issue. I’m very sorry that we can’t be more helpful right now. But rest assured that we’re looking into it very thoroughly :slight_smile:

Same problem here! Opened the study 40 minutes ago, yet only 1 person is participating…
C’mon Prolific, you can better than this!


Interestingly (and somewhat annoyingly), the submissions that did come in are now instantly automatically approved (happened twice). What is going on?

You’re right, we usually are! I’m very sorry about this problem. Our team is still investigating it.

Interestingly (and somewhat annoyingly), the submissions that did come in are now instantly automatically approved (happened twice). What is going on?

Could you let me know the name of the study where this occurred? :slight_smile:

The study is called Circles and Diamonds (4.3), but I just noticed a banner that explained the behavior. Apparently the new policy is to approve submissions automatically, after which I can still reject them later on. That’s fine with me :slight_smile:

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Ah yes, it’s a new feature we’re testing. Sorry for the confusion :slight_smile:

I’m still today having issues with slow recruitment - could you let me know whether it’s an issue on my end or yours? Thank you!

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Hey @HDPS_Stanford, welcome to the community!

I’m very sorry that recruitment has been slow. Could you provide me with your account email address and the name of the study affected? I’ll ‘refresh’ the study on our end to send a reminder to participants who are eligible :slight_smile:

it looks like it has picked up now so it should be fine - thank you for your help anyway!

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No worries - lmk if you run into any other problems :slight_smile:

Hi there, I’ve been experiencing slower recruitment lately compared to before. I currently have a study (called Rating Names under running for 3 hours now but right now I only managed to recruit 60 out of 500 total people I need. Eligibility showed that there are 42,737 of 147,285 eligible participants. Not sure if there’s an issue on my end or not. The study is able to recruit, but at a much slower pace than my previous studies.

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Hey @Jin_Goh, welcome to the community! :tada:

I see that your study has fully recruited now. Let me know if you have any other problems!

Thanks Josh! I’m planning on running more studies this and next week (with 300-500 participants each). My last two studies took about 8 hours to complete. Is this typical? This seems slower than previous months in my experience. Thanks!

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It isn’t typical, although you’re still within the 24-hour average that we see studies completing in.

We’re still trying to identify the root cause of the issues around the slowdown. Let me know if you experience similar things with your other studies, and I’ll do a manual ‘refresh’ on our end :slight_smile:

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