Claim from a participant who did not complete the study

Dear Prolific,
I have an auditory experiment in which participants should complete the study using headphones. This is clearly mentioned in the study description. In the study, the first task is a headphone screening task where participants are able to hear a tone only if they use headphones. They are rejected if they fail this task and are instructed to select ‘Stop without completing’ in Prolific. I have a participant who failed this task but demands payment for the 3-minute task. What is the suggested line of response here?

Dear Auditory
Welcome to the forum.

Often, alas, participants have to click Start before reading the description in order to be able to take part since studies fill up so quickly.

Strictly speaking, Prolific does not allow the screening of participants within studies, and the participant in question may know this.
Can I screen participants within my study? – Prolific.

Since there is no pre-existent screener for “has headphones and will use them if asked” (or similar, I searched, the closest is Record Audio: Would you be willing to record your voice as part of a study?) the orthodox method of recruiting participants that have and will use headphones is to conduct a prescreening study where you simply ask “Do you have headphones that you will use if asked in a future study?” for about .15 UKP. A larger number of participants will say yes. About 2 out of 3 of them will come back so you will have to find about 1.5 times as many of such participants.

That said, I have been screened out of studies (I also take part as a participant) for screen size and other simple technical issues (that were probably in the description). I did not object to being screened out. And In the “Was their a problem with this study?” dialogue one option is “Where you screened out?” And a sub question is “At the start of the study or later?” But, I think that if the participant takes it up with support you may be required to pay for their participation in the three minute study, as per the Prolific rules.

I wish I had better news but at the same time I can see why Prolific has this policy.

One other option is to request for the creation of a new screener in the appropriate part of this forum

but even if approved it would take time. It sounds to be like a good screener to have.

BTW Relatedly
When it comes to the type of device (Mobile/Tablet/Desktop) and the functionality it has (Audio, Camera, Microphone), as well as whether participants are prepared to download software, then if you specify these requirements in the study set up page at the top, and include the stipulation in the study description, then you can reject (or initially ask to return) submissions from those that do not conform to the requirements. Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, having headphones is not implied by “Audio.”

Tim

Thanks for the info Tim. This is very helpful.

Audio and device requirements were selected already. In the study description, it is clearly stated that “You should have access to a computer and headphones to participate in the study”

I have the headphone screening task since the experiment is quite sensitive to background noise.