Participating in Psychological Research

All students* in introductory 100-level Psychology courses must complete a research requirement. The requirement is to participate in research studies or complete an alternative activity. By participating in studies or completing the alternative students earns credits toward their requirement. A credit is equal to 30 minutes of research participation OR the completion of one alternative activity. The number of required credits changes each semester as a function of the needs of Psychology Department researchers. There is a penalty for not completing this requirement; failing to earn the required number of credits will lower your 100-level Psychology grade by two levels (e.g., from B to C+). Please note that this requirement is only for one introductory Psychology class per semester. If a student is enrolled in more than one class at a time then they are only required to complete the requirement for one of them.

*students who have completed the research requirement in two separate introductory 100-level courses are exempt from completing it in any future 100-level courses

Required Credits for Fall 2018:  5

Last day to earn credits in Fall 2018:  Monday, Dec. 10th, 2018 at 12:00 pm


Find fully detailed PDF here


Student Responsibilities

Set up an account:

  • Go to and click on “Request Account”
  • Read the instructions on the Request Account page
  • Enter the required account information (i.e., First & Last Name, User ID [Dickinson email handle] and optional information (phone number))
  • Log in to your new Sona-Systems account
  • Read and acknowledge the Human Subjects information 
  • Complete the Pre-screen questionnaire
    • Create an account and complete the Pre-screen by 12:00 pm on Friday, Sept. 21st, 2018 and earn 1 early-bird research participation credit 
  • Make note of your Sona-Systems 5-digit Identity Code
    • This is the only way that researchers can identify you; you will need to provide this number to the researcher at your study appointment.

Registering for studies: 

  • You should receive an email from the Academic Technician each time a new study becomes available.
  • Sign in to your Sona-Systems account and view timeslots for the new study.
  • Click “View Available Studies”
    • A table will show all of the current active studies. Check the “Timeslots Available” button to see the options that are available to you.
      • You might not be eligible for all of the studies that are being offered. Because of this, your friends might see studies that you cannot or vice versa.
    • Underneath the study name, you will see how many credits the study is worth, whether or not it is an online study, and the study’s brief abstract.
      • For traditional lab studies
        • Click on the different studies’ names in the “Study Information” column
        • Click “View Time Slots for This Study”
        • Find a date & time that works for you
        • Click “Sign Up”
      • For online studies
        • Click on the different studies’ names in the “Study Information” column
          • Note: Will say “(Online Study)” under it
        • Click “View Time Slots for This Study”
          • Note: There will only be one
        • Sign up for the study & take the study immediately
          • If you do not take the study within a week, you will be granted an “unexcused” no-show (and the associated penalty).
  • It is your responsibility to keep track of your Sona-Systems Identity Code, the date and time of studies that you sign up for, and credits that you have earned.

Study timeliness:

  • Tardiness: researchers often have multiple sign-ups in a row; your lateness affects more than just you. If time does not allow the researcher fit you in because you are late, you will be given an unexcused no-show; the researcher is not required to make accommodations for you.
  • Canceling in advance: if you cannot attend your appointment, you must notify the researcher (by signing into Sona-Systems and removing your name from the timeslot) before its cancelation deadline. Failure to cancel a scheduled appointment before the deadline will generally result in an unexcused no-show.
  • Unexcused No-shows: if you accrue two unexcused no-shows for a study, you automatically lose the opportunity to participate in that study in the future.
  • Alternative to research participation: 
    • Why? Some students either do not wish to participate or cannot do so legally (i.e., they are under 18 years old).
    • What is the alternative activity? You will be asked to read a scientific journal article relevant to your 100-level psychology course and answer basic questions about it. One complete alternative activity is worth one credit.
    • How? The Academic Technician will notify you of dates and times for the alternative activity via email. This will occur after mid-terms and again near the end of the semester.  The deadline for the alternative activity--the same as the research requirement--is Monday, December 10th, 2018, at 12:00 pm.