When you know what research question you want to answer and why, it’s time to think about your target population.
When you know what research question you want to answer and why, it’s time to think about your target population. Are they a specific age? From a certain country? only women? or have a certain political attitude? When you’ve decided on the demographic details of your target group, you can select it by using Prolific’s pre-screening filters. There are more than 200 pre-screeners available, but if you can’t find one you want, just send an email to oursupport team (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will do our best to help you out!
Generalising your findings to a national population can be difficult, especially if your sample doesn’t match the population very well! We are currently developing the technology (and building up our participant pool) to support representative sampling on Prolific, and hope to deliver cross-stratified random sampling on age, sex and ethnic group sometime soon. This feature will mean that you’ll be able to easily collect a sample with strata that reflect the general population.
So what exactly does this mean? Let’s say you want to generalise your findings to the UK population. Cross-stratified random sampling divides your sample into strata in proportion to the the general population (on all factors). For example, your sample will have a similar proportion of 30–40 year old Asian women to the general population. Initially, at Prolific we’ll support UK representative samples, stratified on age, sex, and ethnic group. But we will roll this feature out to other countries and other prescreeners as we continue to grow.