For Researchers

Important Dates/Deadlines


January 15th

First day to participate in experiments.

January 15th

Prescreening survey opens

2 weeks after prescreen opens - January 29th

Prescreening survey closes

Monday after prescreen closes - February 3rd

Prescreen results will be sent to researchers

April 24th

Last day for students to submit Alternative Assignments

April 24th 

Last day for students to participate in experiments.

May 1st 

Deadline for settling all research credit issues & discrepancies with students.

May 6th 

Credit reports will be distributed to instructors


Researcher Responsibilities and Information

Researchers in the Department of Psychology who wish to utilize the subject pool should become familiar with the procedures and deadlines. Deadlines will be posted and updated continuously and emailed to the researchers at the earliest convenience each semester. The subject pool includes students enrolled in PSY 100, 215 and 216. Procedures are the same for all, except that PSY 100 requires 6 hours of research exposure whereas PSY 215 and 216 require 4 hours.


IRB Information

All experimenters must go directly to the IRB for approval of studies. For instructions, go to the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) website: If your study uses the subject pool and is eligible for expedited rather than full review, ask Andrew Hedrick in the IRB office ( to direct your protocol to Peggy Keller for review. Peggy is the dedicated reviewer for protocols formerly reviewed by the SURE committee. Contact Peggy for questions about this (


SONA Subject Hour Cap

Number of subject hours you can use: You may post as many experiments as you wish (with IRB approval for each). The number of participants you may run is subject to the following limitation: Prior to the midterm date of the semester, each PI may use up to 600 credit hours in the Fall semester, and 400 hours in the Spring semester.  The purpose of this cap is to prevent a single very large study from soaking up all the available credit hours early in the semester. SONA enforces the cap.


The cap includes:

  • hours that have already been run
  • times slots scheduled and posted on SONA
  • hours in a multi-part study that are committed though not yet scheduled or run, e.g., when a student signs up for a longitudinal study with multiple sessions.


After the midterm date, if you need more hours you will need to contact the Sona Administrator to request them.


Pre-screening Procedures

  • 1 month prior to semester beginning - email is sent to faculty/graduate students asking for any measures to be included in the prescreen
  • Researchers who need to screen take priority; also, junior faculty take priority
  • List of all modifications is compiled and sent back to researchers for confirmation - please READ these emails to ensure all of your modifications are included; otherwise, yours could be left off the prescreen
  • Confirmed measures are sent as a modification request for IRB approval
  • Goal is to go live with the survey on the SONA site on the first day of classes. The survey will be posted for two weeks
  • After two weeks, the survey will be removed, and screening data will be compiled and sent to the researchers by the SONA Administrator


SONA Crediting Policies

Credit is allocated in .5 hour increments and participants should be given 10 minutes to travel to their next class or appointment. Thus, 2 hours of credit = 1 hour, 50 minutes experimental time, etc. The one exception to this “minus 10 minutes” rule is for .5 credit hour experiments; these should not exceed 25 minutes.


Online studies

Students may earn a maximum of 50% of their participation hours from online studies. The rest must be in-person studies. NOTE: The screening does not count as one of the online credits.

Online studies require students to sign up. If you’re running an online experiment, please have a time/date designation for each subject. The best way is to list a single time/date with as many slots as you need subjects. PLEASE DEVELOP AN EFFICIENT WAY OF POSTING PARTICIPATION CREDITS FOR ONLINE STUDIES. Some students have tried to do an online study twice if their credit wasn’t posted promptly perhaps thinking their data weren’t recorded.


Recording research credits

Experimenters are responsible for entering research participation credits for their studies (see instructions below). Please enter credits ASAP after running a session. This reduces the number of emails you’ll get from students (and from the SONA Administrator) wondering why their credit is not posted. Keep a record of who participated in your study in case of disputes.


Credit for no-shows by the experimenter

If a student goes to a session and no one is there to run the session (for any reason) without notifying the student beforehand in a reasonable time frame (i.e., not simply putting a note on the door of a lab the day of the experiment), the student should receive full credit for arriving on time and at the correct location.


Cancellations by the participant - during study

Students who arrive at the study location and consent to the study are permitted to withdraw at any time during the study, and for any reason. They are still entitled to their credit(s). If a study involves multiple sessions over multiple dates, students should only receive credit for the time they have completed, provided that they were clearly notified of the credit value for each session of the study.


Cancellations by participant - before study

Participants may cancel their participation in the SONA system up to 24-hours before the study is scheduled to begin. Participants who cancel with less than 24-hours notice are instructed to contact the researcher at the researchers’ contact information listed on the study. Please be sure your contact information is listed correctly when you post studies.


Students will not receive credit - please use “excused no-show” for the reason in the SONA system. DO NOT use “unexcused no-show”, as the students are not penalized either way. Students who don’t show must have the opportunity to earn this credit at a future point, either by participating in another study, a later session of the same study, or by writing an article/presentation summary.


SONA Instructions

SONA is the online system for scheduling research participants. Please view SONA’s Researcher Tutorial video for information on logging in, adding and reviewing studies, making modifications to the study, and additional features.


For any SONA technical issues, please contact SONA Customer Support at

SONA Technical Support


Gaining Access to SONA - New Account

SONA requires that each researcher has their own account. To request an account, please email the SONA Administrator. Please include your full name, email address, name of your supervisor, phone number, and room location (office number). You will receive a user code and password to access SONA. You can change your user code and password later if you wish.


Gaining Access to SONA - Existing Account

If you were registered as an experimenter on the SONA system last semester you should be still registered now. If not, let me know and I will register you again.

If you were running a study on SONA last semester and you wish to run the same study again, your study should still be in the system. Contact the SONA Administrator if you encounter a problem. PLEASE DELETE YOUR INACTIVE STUDIES. If you do not delete the studies you are no longer running, the system becomes cumbersome.

If you used SONA last semester, but want to modify the experiment description please do so, but keep in mind that you may need to do an IRB modification. If so, please provide a copy of modified consent form (stamped) and explanation sheet (if applicable) to the SONA Administrator.


How to create and post studies:

Studies can only be posted for credit, not for financial incentive.

  • You can then select from four options/study types:
    • Choose “Standard Study” for in-lab studies that require participants to show up at a specific location at a specific time and participate in-person. You may set up multiple time slots.
    • Choose “Multi-Part Standard Study” for in-lab studies that require participants to participate in one or more follow-up sessions. You may set up multiple time slots for “Time 1”, “Time 2”, “Time 3”, etc. for participants to choose from.
    • Choose “Online Internal Survey Study” for online studies that are set up and administered directly within the SONA system (NOT Qualtrics, for example). Researchers must create the survey and store data directly in the SONA system.
    • Choose “Online External Study” for online studies that are hosted by an external system such as Qualtrics or SurveyMonkey. For this option, you create a survey in Qualtrics and copy/paste the survey link into SONA. Participants click on the link and are taken to the survey website.
  • Enter in study information (i.e., study name, abstract, eligibility, researcher, etc.)
  • Enter IRB Approval Code (this is required)
  • Check “active” or “inactive”. Choose “active” if you want your study to appear right away.
  • Enter in information for “Advanced Settings” section if necessary (i.e., prerequisites,  invitation code, email notifications for sign-ups, etc.)
  • Select “Add This Study”
  • Your study will be approved by the SONA Administrator. Once it is approved, you may add time slots.


How to add time slots:

  • Choose “My Studies” in the menu bar
  • Click on your study title, and in the gray “Study Menu” bar, choose “View/Administer Time Slots”.
  • Choose “Add a Timeslot”


How to enter credits:

  • Go to “My Studies”. Choose the relevant study (if you have more than one).
  • Choose “Time Slots”, then “View All Time Slots”, then “Modify”. Scroll down.
  • For each student who participated, choose “participated.”
  • For anyone who did not participate, please use “excused no-show”. DO NOT use “unexcused no-show”, as the students are not penalized either way.

*Students who don’t show must have the opportunity to earn this credit at a future point, either by participating in another study, a later session of the same study, or by writing an article/presentation summary.


Participants recruited through the early-semester screening must sign up for a particular time and date slot on SONA. When you contact a student based on the screening, direct them to SONA to sign up for the session you have arranged.


Feel free to contact the SONA/Subject Pool Administrator at if you have questions. For SONA system technical questions, please contact SONA Technical Support

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