*** Do I need to register for SONA? ***
- If you have ALREADY REGISTERED on Course Credit SONA at any time after January 2018, please use your existing user ID and password. All others, please request for a new account.
- If you DO NOT have a user account on SONA, please register ASAP to become a Course Credit Pool participant and complete the prescreen questionnaire.
- Use SONA to register, sign up for Course Credit studies, and keep track of your credits.
To register for the Course Credit Participant Pool, you must: (a) Create an account in the online SONA system, and (b) Complete the prescreen questionnaire. SONA is an online system where you can sign up for studies and keep track of your credits earned.
First, go to the website https://uiuc.sona-systems.com/ and click Request Account. Use your UIUC email address to register. Your password will be sent to that email address within 24 hours (be sure to check your junk mail folder). When you register, you MUST use your UIUC email address; if you use an alternative address, you may be asked to complete the registration process again. Please enter your UIUC email address carefully, as you will need a correct email address to receive the temporary password. Please double check that you have selected the correct psychology course section. If this part is wrong, your instructor may not receive reports of your credits, which may affect your grades. Next, you will fill out a prescreen questionnaire used to determine your eligibility for various studies. The prescreen results are purged at the end of each semester, so you will be prompted to complete the prescreen every semester when you take psychology courses that allow credit for study participation.
To earn psychology credits, make sure you’re registering for the Psychology Department's COURSE CREDIT SONA (not the Paid SONA). If you want to participate in some studies for course credit and others for pay, you have to register separately in the Paid Research System even if you have already registered in the Course Credit Pool. That includes completing the prescreen questions even if you have already done so for the Course Credit Pool. The study numbers are different in the two systems (e.g., Course Credit Study #123 is not the same study as Paid Study #123). You cannot receive both course credit and pay for the same study, and you cannot change your mind later about which you want to receive for a particular study you have done.
Once you have registered in SONA, you can sign up for studies. To sign up for studies, log in to the Course Credit SONA website and click the Study Sign-Up box. This will take you to a list of the studies that you are eligible to participate in. You can also click on Studies from the top toolbar and a list will be provided. This page shows in-person lab studies or virtual zoom studies that are available on a particular day and online studies that are due on a particular day. You can select a different date by using the drop-down menu at the top of the page. Studies that currently have available participation times (timeslots) will have “TIMESLOTS AVAILABLE” listed next to the study. If none of the studies have available timeslots, you may want to log on to the system a few days later to see if new timeslots have been added. If you don’t see any available studies for a week, make sure you’re registered for the Psychology Department's CREDIT SONA (not the Paid SONA) and then contact the Participant Pool Coordinator. If you’re under-18, you will not see any studies because you’re not eligible to participate in research; instead, you should complete the Under-18 Alternative Assignment (see #8 below).
For each study, you can see available timeslots, the length of the study, and the study type (e.g., multi-part study). Some studies have requirements that you must meet in order to take part in them. Pay close attention to a study’s requirements and do not sign up for it if you do not meet them. You won’t know any other details about the study. Please note that some lab studies are not held in the Psychology Building, so pay attention to the study’s location. For scheduled sessions, you will receive a reminder email the night before the study. However, you are responsible for properly completing the study even if you do not get the email.
Registration consists of creating a SONA account and completing the prescreen questionnaire. This allows you to be eligible to sign up for studies. Signing up for individual studies occurs after you have registered.
Online studies and virtual studies are similar in that you do not physically visit the lab. Online studies may be survey questionnaires or computer-based experiments with cognitive or behavioral tasks. After you sign up for an online study on SONA, you need to click on the study number and click View Study Website to access the study. For online studies, the “timeslot” you sign up for in SONA is the deadline. To receive credit for an online study, you must complete it before the study deadline. For example, if you sign up for an online study timeslot for October 25 at 5:00pm, the entire survey must be completed BEFORE October 25 at 5:00pm for you to receive credit. Note that in one semester (Fall/Spring), you can only earn 2 total credits at most with online studies. Any additional credits should be earned through participating in in-person or virtual (zoom) studies.
Virtual studies are studies conducted over Zoom that involve real-time, virtual interactions with an experimenter. After you sign up for a virtual study on SONA, you will be given access to the study link 10 minutes prior to the scheduled appointment. The link will appear in the “My Schedule” section of your SONA account. For virtual studies, the “timeslot” you sign up for in SONA is the scheduled appointment date/time. You must access the study link at the scheduled date/time and follow the experimenter’s instructions throughout the study to receive credit. For example, if you sign up for a virtual study scheduled to begin at 5:00pm on October 25, you must log on to SONA at 4:50-5:00pm on October 25 to access the study. (Note: Relative to other types of studies, there will not be very many virtual studies).
The SONA system does not use passwords that you use for other university services. Click Request Account and register for a SONA account. If you have already created a SONA account but cannot remember your password, click Lost Password. You will be able to retrieve your password by following the steps outlined there (be sure to check your junk mail folder). If that doesn't work, check the following:
- Make sure you're on the Psychology Department's SONA site.
- Make sure you're using your user ID (not your email) to log in.
- Try clearing your cache/cookies.
- Try a different browser.
If you are still unable to log in or retrieve your password, please contact the Participant Pool Coordinator.
All student accounts are deactivated when the Participant Pool is closed (e.g., during break). Check the SONA calendar. If the Participant Pool is open and your account is deactivated, contact the Participant Pool Coordinator.
Yes. Be sure to update your list of course(s) that you'd like to receive credit for (see Q10 below). If this part is not updated, your new instructor may not receive reports of your credits, which may affect your grades.
If you are under 18, you still need to register for the Course Credit SONA and complete the prescreen (see #1 above). After you register, you can complete the Under-18 Alternative Assignment, which allows you to complete simulated experiments online. Instructions on how to complete the Under-18 Alternative Assignment is on the Psychology Department’s website here.
Even though it is past the registration deadline, you can still create a Course Credit SONA account and sign up for studies. If you are under-18, you can still create a Course Credit SONA account and complete the Under-18 Alternative Assignment (see #8 above).
If you have already created an account, here is how you change your course assignment: Log into your Course Credit SONA account. Click on My Profile near the top of the page. Click on Change Courses. Scroll down until you find your correct course/section and click on that course/section and then click Save Changes.
You can use one account for multiple courses. However, each study can only count towards one class. For example, if you have 2 classes that each need 3 credits, you would have to complete six 1-hour studies. Similarly, the prescreen credit can be counted for only one class.
If you already have a Course Credit SONA account, you can register for both classes under that account. To sign up for both classes: Log into your Course Credit SONA account. Click My Profile near the top of the page and then click Change Courses. Scroll down until you find your first course and select it. Scroll down until you find your second course and select it. This should move your selected courses to the box on the right. Click Save Changes. If you do not have a Course Credit SONA account, you will have to create an account first (see #1 above), then follow the steps above when you’re asked to select your course.
If you are registered for more than one course, you may reassign credit(s) from one course to another. To do this, simply use the Reassign link that appears when you view My Schedule/Credits. You may not split or share a single study's credit(s) between two courses (e.g., splitting a 3-credit study and allocating 2 credits to one course and 1 credit to another is not allowed). Credit assignments may be changed at any time during the semester, and until the date that the Course Credit Pool closes, which is usually the day after Reading Day (see the SONA calendar).
First, make sure that you’re registered in the CREDIT SONA (not the Paid SONA). Second, make sure you are looking in the right spot for studies to sign up for (see #2 above). Third, if you indicated during the prescreen questionnaire that you’re under-18, you will not see any studies because you should be completing the Under-18 Alternative Assignment (see #8 above). Fourth, you will not see any available studies if your account is locked (see #17-18). Fifth, the system only shows you the studies that you are qualified for. Do not panic if there are no studies posted for the first few days of the semester. Studies are posted throughout the semester as researchers are ready to run them. There is no specific schedule for when studies are posted, which is why you need to check the site frequently. Dates and times fill up quickly, so you should check often. It often takes a few weeks at the beginning of the semester for studies to be posted, but eventually you will find them scheduled for every day of the week and at many different times. You must schedule studies via the SONA website, attend only the studies that you schedule via SONA, and you must attend at the date/time that you’ve scheduled. If it has been 1 month after the semester has begun and you still do not see any available studies, please contact the Participant Pool Coordinator.
You can keep track of your appointments and the credits you have earned using SONA. Log into your SONA account and click on My Schedule/Credits.
Studies in the Course Credit Pool are worth anywhere from 0.5 to 3 credits, depending on their duration. You may participate in any combination of credit hours to complete the credits needed for your class. However, you will not be awarded extra credit for any hours over the maximum amount of credit allowed for your class. Please consult your course instructor or course syllabus to determine how many SONA credits can be earned for your course.
A No-Show includes any situation in which the participant does not complete a study session and receives 0 credit. A No-Show is not a penalty because it does not remove credit earned; it just doesn’t add any credit to your account. There are two kinds of No-Shows: Excused and Unexcused.
- An Excused No-Show is marked when a participant misses a scheduled appointment and has a valid documented excuse (e.g., doctor’s note, letter from the Emergency Dean).
- Excused No-Shows are also granted whenever a researcher cancels a study session more than 24 hours in advance, if a participant chooses to withdraw from a study, or if a participant is asked to leave the study.
- An Excused No-Show is also marked when online studies are incomplete or past due.
- Excused No-Shows will not count towards your unexcused absences, so they will not influence whether your account gets locked.
- An Unexcused No-Show is marked when a participant misses a scheduled appointment and has no valid documented excuse (e.g., forgetting about the appointment, being late).
- Note that Unexcused No-Shows apply specifically to in-person and virtual studies, in which experimenters are counting on participants to show up.
- If you have been given an Unexcused No-Show and can provide a valid documented excuse, email the Participant Pool Coordinator (be sure to include your name, NetID, study #, date/time of study session). If approved, your No-Show will be changed from Unexcused to Excused.
- If you receive 2 Unexcused No-Shows, your account will be locked. While your account is locked, you will NOT be able to sign up for studies (see #17-18 below).
- If you have 4 or more Unexcused No-Shows in a given semester, your account will be permanently locked, and you will not be able to earn any further SONA participation credits to fulfill course requirements. Please consult your instructor should that happen.
If you missed at least two scheduled appointments without providing proper documentation, then you were marked as Unexcused No-Show for those absences. This is why your account has been locked/disabled. See #18 for information on how to unlock your account.
Accounts are locked/disabled if a participant has received 2 or more Unexcused No-Shows. You can be marked as Unexcused No-Show if you do not have a valid excuse for missing or arriving late to a scheduled study. While your account is locked, you will NOT be able to sign up for studies, although you can still take part in any studies that you have already signed up for and keep the credits you have already earned through other studies.
There are two ways to get your SONA account unlocked:
First, you can provide documentation justifying your Unexcused No-Shows. Valid documentation would include a letter from the emergency dean, McKinley, or other authorized professional. You can submit your documentation via email to the Participant Pool Coordinator (be sure to include your name, NetID, study #, date/time of study session). If approved, your No-Show will be changed from Unexcused to Excused, and your account will be unlocked.
Second, if you do not have a valid documentation for missing the study session(s), you can follow these steps to complete additional online ethics training:
- Go to the CITI Program website here: https://www.citiprogram.org. Click "Register" on the right upper corner.
- Select “Login through my organization” and select “University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign” from search box.
- Use the “Continue to SSO Login” and you will login using your NetID through UIUC.
- Midway down the page is a section Institutional Courses ensure you have University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign listed as an affiliation.
- Select “View Courses”.
- If you do not have Core IRB Training listed as a course available, select “Add a course” at the bottom of the page.
- For Question 1, select Core IRB Training and select “Submit” at the bottom of the page.
- You need to complete the following 5 required modules:
- Assessing Risk - SBE (ID: 503)
- Basic Institutional Review Board (IRB) Regulations and Review Process (ID: 2)
- Consent in the 21st Century (ID: 17060)
- Defining Research with Human Subjects (ID: 491)
- Privacy and Confidentiality - SBE (ID: 505)
- Submit the completion report to show that you have successfully completed the ethics training. You must submit the completion report to the Participant Pool Coordinator via email as a PDF document. The dates on your completion certificate must reflect that you completed the ethics training after your account was locked.
- If you encounter any problems accessing the CITI Training, see here: https://oprs.research.illinois.edu/required-training
Without documentation justifying an Unexcused No-Show or showing your completion of the ethics training, your account will remain locked for the rest of the semester. If you have more than 4 Unexcused No-Shows in a given semester, your account will be permanently locked, and you will NOT be able to earn any further SONA participation credits to fulfill course requirements. Please consult your instructor should that happen.
The cancellation deadline is clearly marked on the study information page. If it is before the deadline, then you can cancel online in the SONA system. Log in and click My Schedule/Credits. This screen shows studies that you are signed up for. There will be a Cancel button next to it. Once you click Cancel, you will need to confirm that you want to cancel the appointment. Save a copy of this page as a record of your cancellation. If the cancellation deadline has passed and you miss a scheduled appointment, an Unexcused No-show will be recorded on your account. If you have a valid justification for the cancellation/absence with supporting documentation, email the Participant Pool Coordinator. This information will be reviewed and in certain cases (e.g., documented illness), the Unexcused No-show may be changed to Excused.
As soon as you realize that you are not going to make your appointment, a) you should cancel your appointment via SONA if it is prior to the cancellation deadline (see #19 above) or b) if it is after the cancellation deadline, you need to email both the researcher in charge of the study and the Participant Pool Coordinator. Please include justification for the cancellation/absence and any supporting documentation. This information will be reviewed and in certain cases (e.g., documented illness), the Unexcused No-show may be changed to Excused.
Sometimes, a researcher may cancel a study. If a researcher cancels less than 24 hours in advance, they should email you and explain that the session has been cancelled, and you will receive credit for the study. If it is more than 24 hours in advance, you will be marked as Excused No-Show in the SONA system, and you will not receive credit for the study (although you can reschedule and sign up for the same study again, if you’d like).
In most studies, researchers should record credit within 48 hours of the study. If it is an online study, DO NOT attempt to take the study again. If it has been more than 48 hours and it still says “awaiting action,” contact the researcher in charge of the study and the Participant Pool Coordinator. Be sure to include your name, NetID, study #, and date/time of your study appointment.
There are 4 reasons why you may have an Excused No-Show: 1) A researcher cancels a study at least 24 hours in advance, 2) You withdrew from a study or were asked to leave, 3) You did not attend the study but you provided valid documentation for missing it, or 4) You failed to complete an online study by the deadline. If your situation does not fall into any of these categories, contact the Participant Pool Coordinator.
As long as your account has not been locked due to Unexcused No-Shows, you can be given an alternative assignment instead of participating in Course Credit Pool studies. Please ask your instructor for details about this alternative assignment. Please note that this alternative assignment is different from the Under-18 Alternative Assignment. Your alternative assignment will most likely be an essay assignment. Please ask your course instructor for details.
Due to data protection regulations, residents of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), European Economic Area (EEA), or the United Kingdom (UK) are not eligible to participate in the Course Credit SONA. If you’re currently located in the PRC/EEA/UK, do not register for SONA. Instead, please ask your instructor for an alternative assignment to fulfill your course requirement. Please note that this alternative assignment is different from the Under-18 Alternative Assignment. Please ask your course instructor for details.
If you feel that a study violates your moral, religious, or ethical values, or makes you feel uncomfortable, you can withdraw from the study. If you withdraw from a study that is shorter than 1 hour, you will not receive any credit for the session. For studies that are longer than one hour, you can receive prorated credit for partial completion of the study. The researcher must provide you with a Course Credit Early Withdrawal Form, which must be emailed to the Participant Pool Coordinator for you to receive partial credit.
If you sign up for a multi-session study, it is your responsibility to attend all of the sessions on time. If you cancel a part of a multi-part study, the subsequent parts (but not preceding parts) will also be cancelled. You will need to ask the Participant Pool Coordinator to manually sign you up for the other parts again, if you would like to participate in it at a later date. Often, if you miss the first session, you will be marked as No-Show for the subsequent sessions.
Log in to your Course Credit SONA account and make sure that you are at the correct study location at the scheduled date/time. The researcher should also have access to the most up-to-date timeslots for their study on their Course Credit SONA system. If you can verify that you are at the correct date/time/place/study #, then you should be able to participate. If not, then you will not be able to participate.
Email the Participant Pool Coordinator and provide as much information as you can about the study ASAP (study #, date, time, location, room, researcher name, duration, study tasks, contents of the debriefing sheet are often helpful in determining which study it was).
Understand that you are only required to participate in each study for its specified duration. You are not required to do anything that you were not informed about before you began the study. Occasionally, a researcher might email you after a study and ask you to complete additional sessions or surveys. Unless this is part of a multi-session study, you are not required to complete this additional information but may do so voluntarily.
Yes. In one semester (Fall/Spring), you can only earn 2 total credits at most with online studies. Any additional credits should be earned through participating in in-person or virtual (zoom) studies. During Summer sessions, there is no limit to the number of credits students may earn through online studies.
See #31. This message means that you have already maxed out on the number of credits earned via online studies. Any additional credits should be earned through participating in in-person or virtual (zoom) studies.