An easy way to earn some side income

How to Find Studies That Pay You for Participating

by Angely Mercado

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Finding ways to make and save money can often feel tedious and nerve racking, especially after scouring job markets and online surveys that supposedly pay "competitive rates" but in turn never deliver. One market that is never really considered very often is being a test subject for psychological studies at different universities.

Though it isn't widely known, a lot of students who are on research teams often post fliers when they need participants for paid studies, making it so that only students are aware of paid opportunities. And though several studies are reserved only for students, there are many that are available to the public.

According to a 2012 survey by the Center of Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation, around half of the United States participates in some sort of clinical trial. Many of the trials are run by industries that are attempting to sell products, highlighting that there are various opportunities for becoming a paid participant.

When I first noticed a study, I was an undergraduate student and I saw a flier that was open to women from the ages of 18 to 30 who were willing to answer a survey on stress management. I answered questions for less than an hour and was paid $45 at the end of it. It lead to a constant search for more paid studies for which I met the criteria. Mistakes were made at first when trying to find paid studies. But since then, I've found a few surefire ways to get ahold of more studies.

  1. Look into all nearby colleges and universities and see if they have a psychology department. Someone at a main office will not know if there are any studies available, but a receptionist at the psychology department will know, and if they don't, they can find someone who knows about any paid studies.
  2. If there are open campuses, walk around a main entrance or into a lobby area where fliers will be posted up and see which ones pertain to paid studies.
  3. Go on the college's website and find the page dedicated to their psychology department. See if they have a section for upcoming paid studies that you can use to sign up with or contact professors who may know.

    One example would be New York University's signup page for studies that highlight the time slots and dates, contact information for the professor or student leading the study, an outline of who is eligible for the study, and how long the study will take.
  4. Many large institutions will also place advertisements regarding large studies in local or widely syndicated newspapers nearby. Apart from being paid for showing up and taking the time to participate in the study, many of the widely advertised studies often also compensate participants for any large travel related expenses.

    Many of the advertisements for larger studies will have a wider range for opportunities and won't only be advertised to students. Some examples of studies ask for participants who may have been diagnosed with mental health issues, or have skin problems, specific allergies, or something like a dairy or gluten intolerance.
  5. Would you like to
    pay off your credit cards
    in less time
    for less money?

  6. When a psychology department really needs extra participants, they often also place ads in Craigslist's "Volunteer" section. Despite it being the volunteer section, many titles will have "PAID" in all caps in hopes of gaining the attention of any potential volunteers.

    If there are no paid studies in your own town or city, look in nearby cities, especially those that may have several well-known universities. Some of these studies are long term and can lead to steady cash flow of over $2000 if you are able to make the commitment to go back for another interview in another year or two.
  7. Often times, large hospitals that are affiliated with medical schools also often post advertisements on their websites for extra participants for clinical trials. For example, New York Presbyterian Hospital has a page specifically for clinical trials and helping willing participants in their hospital and for other organizations they're connected with.
  8. Check out Craigslist. It's that simple. As already mentioned, paid opportunities for psychological or medical trials are often posted in the volunteer section of the website. Many will have the fact that they're paid in bold letters, making them easier to find.

Paid studies aren't all that hard to find and can be a great way to make extra money on the side if you're in between jobs or need to save up for something important. Being a test dummy pays, and it may make the difference between having an emergency stash or some indulgent spending money.

Reviewed May 2017

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