Tips for Deciding Reimbursement for Participants of Online Survey Platforms

These tips are suggestions to assist researchers when developing appropriate compensation for subjects participating in online survey platforms (e.g. Mechanical Turk, Qualtrics and others). To avoid participant complaints for not being reimbursed appropriately or within a reasonable time frame cover these issues in study description. These are suggestions only, studies will vary.

  1. Look at other studies and set compensation to be offered comparable to other reported research for the same work, when possible.
  2. Plan your budget to account for online platform fees.
  3. Consider letting online respondents review the survey or the task before they decide to participate.
  4. Offer follow- up survey tasks as “optional”, with separate compensation schedule.
  5. Develop an information sheet that participants can review.  Include a list and description of tasks, as well as a clear explanation of the compensation provided.
  6. Schedule reimbursements to be received as soon as possible after participation, and so inform subjects.
  7. Create incentives for participant. – such as increasing total reimbursement for the completion of a follow up task.
  8. Consider adding a prize drawing on top of a lower payment wage in order to meet budget requirements.
  9. Ensure there is a clear financial record of reimbursements.
  10. Generously estimate time to complete tasks, so participants do not exceed estimated time and compensation is appropriate.
  11. Retention rate of subjects for subsequent tasks is statistically only 50%, so plan accordingly.