Print this page A A A

department banner


Research Participant Pool (Sona):

Hosted by Sona Systems, the psychology department's online participant pool is for students enrolled in Introductory Psychology and any other courses taught by participating instructors. All you have to do is visit the site, create an account for yourself, and then select the studies you would like to participate in. The site is very secure and data is backed up redundantly and regularly.


Participation in studies is voluntary and confidential and alternative assignments exist if you want Sona credit but do not want to participate in research (see below).

When you create your account, identify the participating course(s) you are taking this semester (hold control key to select multiple courses), and the system will store your extra credit points for your instructors to use at the end of the semester. If you are in more than one class that accepts this type of credit, you can move your credit points from one course to another until the end of the semester to make sure that you get the credit wherever you want it most. 

ALL credits must be assigned by students the course(s) they choose by 12:00 noon on the last day of classes each semester (NOT the last day of Exam Week).  Failure on the part of the student to sign up for the correct course in Sona or to assign credit to the course(s) they choose, will result in the credit NOT being counted by instructors.

For students who want to do alternative research exposure assignments instead of, or in addition to, research participation, or who have questions about Sona, contact Phil Randall at: randallp@goldmail.etsu.edu

Instructors or Researchers who are interested in more information about making this option available to their students and/or using Sona to facilitate collection date for IRB-approved studies should contact Dr. Chris Dula at dulac@etsu.edu or 423-439-8307.

If you are enrolled in an Introduction to Psychology course or another participating course and would like to participate in a study for course credit, click here to go to http://etsu.sona-systems.com/

FOR INTRODUCTORY PSYCHOLOGY STUDENTS (READ ALL BELOW):

IMPORTANT NOTES:

1) This activity must be COMPLETED by 12:00 noon on the Last Day of Classes (NOT the last day of Exam Week)!

2) If you are enrolled in an Introduction to Psychology course and want to do an alternative research exposure assignment in lieu of doing research participation, contact Phil Randall at: randallp@goldmail.etsu.edu

Research Exposure Requirement for Introduction to Psychology Courses

East Tennessee State University

Department of Psychology

Rationale

“Participating in a research activity by volunteering in a research study or by writing a short research paper as part of a course requirement relates to favorable perceptions of psychology and research, greater knowledge of procedures associated with participation, and [about] … demographic and situational variables [involved in research]. College students who volunteered to participate in a research study were more satisfied with their experiences than those who wrote papers as a part of their research activity” (Bowman & Waite, 2003, p102).

It is a common and long-standing practice among university psychology departments to have research participant pools which draw from introductory psychology classes and written research assignments as alternatives to participation, and evidence demonstrates that students derive educational benefits from these experiences (e.g., Bowman & Waite, 2003; Britton, 1979; Coulter, 1986; Davis & Fernald, 1975; King, 1970; Landrum & Chastain, 1995; Miller, 1981; Sieber & Saks, 1989).

Through participation in research, students become more familiar with research methods and can contribute to research outcomes. When students choose to become research participants, the data they provide furthers various scientific endeavors, helping to fulfil the scholarly purpose of a department. Publication or other presentations of research results, enhances the reputation of a department, in turn enhancing the reputation of a University, and this conveys additional benefit to faculty, staff, and students of the University.

Also, students may wish to become involved in the conduct of research in preparation for graduate school or other professional roles, and this early exposure to the process helps provide a framework from which to better understand the future research they will help to conduct as laboratory assistants, honors students, and graduate students.

Finally, students who participate in research or write papers about research become more familiar with the process of research and are, therefore, more informed consumers of research both inside and outside of class. Thus, this Department has instituted a research exposure requirement for its Introduction to Psychology course.

The American Psychological Association (2003) states in its Code of Ethics, “When research participation is a course requirement or an opportunity for extra credit, the prospective participant is given the choice of equitable alternative activities” (8.04[b]). In accordance with standard professional psychological practices, East Tennessee State University (ETSU), Institutional Review Board (IRB), and Departmental standards, we insist that student research participation be voluntary. Therefore, all students are given the opportunity to complete an alternate, time-equivalent, research-related activity (i.e., reading and critiquing research articles) to fulfil this research exposure requirement.

The Department has adopted a standard policy for the research exposure requirement, to ensure that: students are given clear rules; participation is not coercive; there are clear channels for student questions, concerns, or complaints; and, that administration provides for accurate record keeping and grading.



Policy

I. Description of Those Affected by the Research Exposure Requirement

            All students in ETSU Introduction to Psychology (PSYC 1310) courses will be required to be exposed to research during the semester. All researchers who make use of the participant pool must first obtain appropriate educational credentialing from the ETSU IRB. All studies in which students might participate will be approved by the ETSU IRB prior to recruiting participants. There will be a Research Participation Administrator appointed by the Department to: maintain records of all studies’ IRB approvals; manage the Sona-Systems online participant pool management software; oversee record keeping of points accumulated by students; ensure points are properly awarded; and, answer student, instructor, and researcher questions and concerns and/or refer students to the appropriate personnel (e.g., researchers, instructors, Department Chair, IRB, etc.) for issue resolution.



II. Quantity of Research Exposure Requirement

            Students will be required to engage in three credits/points of research exposure, which may include participation in research, review and written critiques of research articles, or a combination of both options.


III. Determination and Documentation of Research Exposure Requirement

            The required three credits/points of research exposure will be gauged with a credit/point system, where one half hour of exposure garners the equivalent of one half credit/point. Studies that are lab-based and thus require active participation on location, as opposed to online survey studies, will typically yield higher than normal credits/points as an incentive to have students take the time to come in and participate in that type of research.  Students will be made aware that individuals vary in the time it takes to complete relevant tasks, and that studies and critique projects will award a standard number of points based on estimations of the time it takes an average person to complete the relevant tasks and it is the standard points that are awarded regardless of the time taken. For example, an estimated hour of task engagement (be it study participation or a research article critique session) would be listed as being worth one point, but some participants may take 50 minutes and others 70; regardless, each participant still receives one point. In cases where exceptionally longer is taken by a student to complete tasks, additional credit may be awarded at the discretion of the researcher or research exposure administrator.



IV. Incorporation of Research Exposure Requirement into Course Grading

            The three points of research exposure will be required and tied to the final grade in the course. A third of a letter grade will be lost for each point/hour not acquired, such that a final grade would be lowered a full letter grade if the three required research points were not obtained before noon on the last day of classes during the semester. That is, if a student earns 2-2.5 research credits/points, s/he will receive a 1/3 letter grade deduction (e.g., B to B-); if earning 1-1.5 research credits/points, s/he will receive a 2/3 letter grade deduction (e.g., B to C+); if earning 0-0.5 research credits/points, s/he will receive a full letter grade deduction (e.g., B to C). All introductory psychology course instructors can offer additional extra credit beyond the three required points, up to a total to be determined by individual instructors. Generally, it is suggested that research exposure points be added to the final grade in terms of one final grade point per research exposure point obtained after the requirement has been met, up to a total of five points maximum to be added to the final grade (i.e., half a letter grade for 5 additional hours of research exposure beyond the three required). Extra credit points can be earned through additional participation in research, reading and writing critiques of additional research articles, or other extra credit tasks generated by the instructor, but research-related extra credit points would not be awarded until the three mandatory credits/points of research exposure are earned.

References

American Psychological Association (2003). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. Retrieved from the World Wide Web on January 20, 2007: http://www.apa.org/ethics/code2002.html

 

Bowman, L.L., & Waite, B.M. (2003). Volunteering in research: Student satisfaction and educational benefits. Teaching of Psychology, 30, 102-106.

 

Britton, B. K. (1979). Ethical and educational aspects of participating as a subject in psychology experiments. Teaching of Psychology, 6, 95-198.

 

Coulter, X. (1986). Academic value of research participation by undergraduates. American Psychologist, 41, 317.

 

Davis, J. R. & Fernald, P. S. (1975). Psychology in action. Laboratory experience versus subject pool. American Psychologist, 30, 523-524.

 

King, D. J. (1970). The subject pool. American Psychologist, 25, 1179-1181.

 

Landrum, R. E., & Chastain, G. (1995). Experiment spot-checks: A method for assessing the educational value of undergraduate participation in research. IRB: A Review of Human Subjects Research, 17, 4-6.

 

Miller, A. (1981). A survey of introductory psychology subject pool practices among leading universities. Teaching of Psychology, 8, 211-213.

 

Sieber, J.E., & Saks, M.J. (1989). A census of subject pool characteristics and policies. American Psychologist, 44, 1053-1061.