Psychology faculty/postdocs, currently enrolled Psychology graduate students, and undergraduate students in the Psychology Honors Program are eligible to use the Psychology Department’s Course Credit Participant Pool. Special faculty with zero-time appointment in the Department of Psychology may use the Credit Pool if they are collaborating with a Psychology graduate student/faculty. Non-psychology faculty with affiliate appointments and PSYC290/ Capstone undergraduates are not eligible to use the Credit Pool. Thesis/Dissertation projects of students from a different department are not eligible. Research projects of faculty/postdocs from a different department are not eligible.
The IRB is the Institutional Review Board. It is run by the University and all research must initially be approved by the IRB. Forms for IRB review are available at their website. IRB review may take several weeks, so be sure to plan ahead. The HSC is the Human Subjects Committee run by the department of Psychology. After your research is approved by the IRB, it
must go through a second review by a member of the HSC. See the HSC Guidelines for more information.
The easiest way to think about researcher hours is as credits. 1 SONA credit granted to a participant = 1 researcher hour used.
Depending on the length of your study and the number of sessions in your study, your study may cost more than one researcher hour to run a single participant. Because we factor in the commute time for participants, below is the translation between researcher hour and length of study:
|0.5 credit/researcher hour = 25 mins||2.0 credit/researcher hours = 110 mins|
|1.0 credit/researcher hour = 50 mins||2.5 credit/researcher hours = 140 mins|
|1.5 credit/researcher hours= 80 mins||3.0 credit/researcher hours = 170 mins|
To request an allocation of hours, you must fill out the Credit Pool Hours Request Form online (link on the department website) and submit it before the deadline noted on the first page of the form (typically 1 week before the first day of classes).
Once you have your hours allocation (the Participant Pool Coordinator will email you with the hours you have been allocated), you have to set up a study in the Course Credit Pool. To do this, fill out the Credit Study Activation Form (link available on the department website).
Participants sign up on-line at the Course Credit SONA website [https://uiuc.sonasystems.com/]. Both the Course Credit and Paid Pool studies use the online SONA system, but the systems are kept completely separate, and there are separate links and instructions for the two different pools.
The Free-For-All is the last ~5 weeks of the semester for in-person studies and the last ~2 weeks of the semester for online studies (see Participant Pool Calendar for specific dates). During this time, you may run as many participants as you wish. You are no longer limited to the number of hours you were allocated. This procedure is intended to motivate you to use your allocated researcher hours earlier in the semester while also providing more options for participants as the semester winds down. Note that you must still be eligible to use the Course Credit Participant Pool (see #1) to run studies during the Free-For-All.
If your study is approved and active in the Course Credit Pool system, Free-For-All hours will automatically be added to your study. You do not need to send a special request to get them.
The pretest (or prescreen questionnaire) is a series of questions that all participants are required to answer each semester when they set up their Course Credit SONA account. It must be done separately for the Course Credit and Paid pools. It includes a variety of basic informational questions that researchers can use to screen out certain populations, or to recruit a very specific population of participants. To set up requirements using the prescreen, from your study’s main page, click on "View/Modify Restrictions". An age restriction has automatically been included in your study’s prescreen restrictions. This is so that under-18 students do not participate. Do NOT remove this age restriction. Select any other questions you want to use for prescreening. Click "Set Restrictions". Select the response options that you want to be eligible for participation in your study. Click "Save Changes".
Researchers have the opportunity to request changes to the prescreen questionnaire during summer. An email will be sent out by the Participant Pool Coordinator during summer, notifying researchers that the Prescreen Item Selection Form is available online (link on the department website). Questions must be approved by the IRB before they can be included in the prescreen. Any changes to the prescreen questionnaire (which must also be approved by the HSC) will be implemented during the academic year. Often, there will be another opportunity to suggest new questions during winter break.
For both the Course Credit and Paid Pools, participants can sign up for a study or cancel an appointment online as long as it is before the set deadline. Researchers can set their own deadlines and they will appear on the information page of each study. We recommend that you do not set a deadline for more than 24 hours or less than 6 hours.
If you want to add more hours to a study that has already been activated, send an email to the Participant Pool Coordinator that includes the number of hours you want added, whose hours will be used, and what study number you want the hours added to. You do not need to fill out any forms to accomplish this.
To request a new study, fill out the Course Credit Study Activation Form (see Forms) and follow the instructions (e.g., attaching the most recent IRB approval letter, debriefing sheet, etc.). Shortly after it is received, a new study will be created in the system, researcher hours will be added, and you will be able to run your study. You will receive an email when your request has been processed.
If you’re requesting a study number in the Course Credit system for a study that already exists in the Paid Pool system, you still need to fill out the Course Credit Study Activation Form (see Forms) and also indicate the corresponding Paid Pool study number on the form. See the “Instructions for Conducting Research using the Psychology Course Credit Participant Pool” for more information.