Participant Pool Requirement

Research is an integral part of psychology. Students learn about psychology by reading about it, participating in research studies, and ultimately by conducting their own studies. The objective of the Psychology Department's research participation requirement is for students to gain a better understanding of how research is conducted and provide faculty and advanced students with opportunities for conducting research. Without student participation, we could not conduct our programs of research.

Students in 100-level psychology classes are required to accrue 3 research participation credits. One credit is equal to thirty minutes. 

There are 3 ways to complete this requirement: 
1) Participate in department-approved research 
2) Complete a reading-and-writing alternative 
*students who are under 18 years of age must complete the reading-and-writing alternative 
3) A combination of number 1 and 2 

The research participation must be completed by 4:30 p.m. on December 12th

How to get started:

  • Go to http://dickinson.sona-systems.com

  • Click "Request an account here" on the lower left side of the screen. 

  • You will be prompted to put in your username from your Dickinson email address. You must specify which course you are putting your participation credits toward; if you are enrolled in more than one 100-level course, choose for which class you would like to complete the requirement. 

  • Click "Request Account" to submit your information. 

  • The system will email you with a password. You are now ready to log in to your account to sign up for studies, track your credits and check your scheduled appointments. You will probably want to change your password the first time you log in, to make sure it is something memorable for you. 

  • Click on "My Profile" on the main page to see your Identity Code. Please note this 5-digit number listed under your name. You will need to have this available in order to receive credit each time you participate in a study.

How to cancel an appointment: 

  • Log in at http://dickinson.sona-systems.com

  • Click on the My Schedule and Credits link on the main page or from the top toolbar. 

  • You will see listed all the studies you have signed up for, as well as those you have completed. Studies you have signed up for that you are allowed to cancel will have a Cancel button next to them. 

  • A confirmation page will appear and let you know if canceling this appointment will affect your ability to participate in another study you are signed up for. If this is the case, it is your responsibility to cancel the dependent study as well. The system will warn you, but will not block your cancellation. 

  • Click Yes to cancel your sign-up and the sign-up will be cancelled immediately. 

  • If you cancel the first part of a two-part study, the second part will also be cancelled. If you cancel the second part of a two-part study, the first part will not be cancelled but you will need to ask the researcher to sign you up for the second part again, if you would like to participate in it at a later date.

To complete the reading and writing alternative:

  • Open office hours are held at the discretion and availability of the participant pool manager. S/he will have available office hours posted on the door of Kaufman 100.

  • If you are unavailable at those times listed, you may email cotterk@dickinson.edu to schedule an appointment that will work for you.    

Frequently Asked Questions:

 How do I change my password?

Log into http://dickinson.sona-systems.com and click "Update My Profile" under "My Profile". You will be prompted to type in your current password, along with your new password. 

What do I do if I forgot my password? 

Go to http://dickinson.sona-systems.com and click the link under "Lost your password?" You will be prompted to put in your username, so that Sona systems can email you your password. 

How do I sign up for studies? 

Under the heading "Studies", you can view descriptions of studies that are available. When you see a timeslot available for a study you would like to participate in, click on the timeslot in which you would like to sign up. 

What happens in research studies?

Each study has a unique purpose and set of activities, but there are certain general features. For studies conducted in the department you will report to the research suite (Room 157) where you will be met by a Research Assistant, who will then give you a brief introduction so you'll know what to expect as a participant. Your rights as a participant and the nature of the study will be explained. Once you have agreed to participate, the actual study will begin. You might read something, watch or listen to a presentation, complete a questionnaire, respond to computer-presented stimuli, talk with an interviewer, join a discussion group, etc. Finally, you'll learn about the objectives of the study. For online studies you will be given a web link to an online study that you can complete on your own. 

How can I check to see how many participation credits I have? 

You can track your progress at any time by selecting the My Schedule/Credits option from the toolbar across the top of the screen. You will see a list of the credits you are required to earn as well as the credits you have earned so far. If you have signed up for any studies, that information will be listed below. 

What do I do if I participated in a study, but the credit is not showing up in the system?

The researcher must grant you credit. This is usually done shortly after your participation. If it has been some time and you have still not received credit, contact the Participant Pool Manager, Katherine Cotter, at 245-1446, or by stopping by Kaufman 100 or emailing cotterk@dickinson.edu

My friends and I are not seeing the same studies as participation options. Why are different studies available to different people? 

There are several possibilities: the study may be over, meaning that the researchers are finished collecting information from students; there may not be any available timeslots at the current time; or you may have different eligibility. 

I am currently enrolled in more than one 100-level psychology class. How many credits do I have to do? 

You are only required to do 3 research participation credits. When you request an account with Sona, be sure that you select the course you would like your credits to go toward. 

What do I do if the experimenter did not show up?

First, you should wait at least 5 minutes and make sure that you showed up to the right location. If you are in the correct location and the experimenter did not show up, go to Kaufman 100 to see the Participant Pool Manager, Katherine Cotter. He will verify that you attended the scheduled session, and you will receive the appropriate participation credit. 

If you did not receive credit for a study in which you participated, please download and fill out a Credit Correction Form . You must fill out the form and return it to Katherine Cotter (Kaufman 100) within one week of noticing the issue for your claim to be investigated. 

For Experimenters: 
Please read through the Guidelines for Researchers document before preparing to conduct research. 

Students who are interested in getting involved in research should consult with the professor whose interests align with their own to inquire about what opportunities may be available in upcoming semesters.

IRB approval information: See Dickinson College Policies for Protecting Human Subjects Involved in Research