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Exposure to Research


Psychology is the study of scientific behavior and as such, we use a variety of research methods to help understand human behavior. In the classroom, you will learn about the research process, but exposure to research helps you to truly understand the process. 

We believe that there are two key ways to be exposed to research at this level. One way involves being exposed to the research process first-hand by participating in research experiments. The other way to become exposed is by reading through journal articles that detail the research process. However, you may encounter both throughout your academic career.

As part of the course, students who are enrolled in PSY1113 can earn research credits by participating in experiments conducted in the Department of Psychology at OU or by completing an equivalent assignment (i.e., research summaries).

Accessing SONA

SONA is a website that the Department uses to manage all experiments. You can sign up for experiments and check the number of credits you've earned on SONA. Information about how to access SONA, log in, sign up for studies, and check your credit balance can be found in the document below. In addition, you can use the link below to access SONA.

IMPORTANT: The first time you log into SONA, your username will be your 4X4 and your password will be your OU student ID number - NOT YOUR CANVAS PASSWORD. 

SONA WEBSITE

SONA Research Exposure Handout (docx)

Frequently Asked Questions

In order to participate in research, you must be at least 18 years old. If you are not yet 18 years old, you can get a form signed by your parent or legal guardian, granting permission for you to participate in most experiments. You must have this signed form on file in order to participate in research

Underage Form (PDF)

Participating in research studies is always voluntary. If you choose not to participate, you can still earn credits toward your class research requirement by completing research summaries. Details on how to complete this assignment can be found in the document below. If you have questions about the research summaries, you will need to contact the instructor for the course. 

Research Summary Option Handout (docx)

There are two windows of time (Session I and II) during which students can complete the research credits and earn points toward their grade in the class. To obtain these points and earn full credit in the course, students must meet the research exposure deadlines. 

Research credit is based on the time associated with your participation. An experiment worth ½ credit will take 30 minutes or less. An experiment worth 1 credit will last between 30 and 60 minutes. Some experiments are worth more than 1 credit. Hours of participation are rounded to the nearest ½ hour. 

Session I (Weeks 4-9 Deadline): Starting on Week 4, students will have the opportunity to complete up to 6 research credits. Five of these credits will count as points toward the grade in the class (up to 5% of the grade) and one research credit will count as extra credit (1 percentage point added to the final grade in the class). To receive grade points, students must complete these research credits by the end of Week 9. After this time point, any participation in research will count towards your Session 2 research credits and grade. In other words, you will not be able to complete any more research credits that count towards your grade for Session I. 

Session II (Weeks 10-16 Deadline): Starting on Week 10, students will have the opportunity to complete 6 additional research credits. The same as in Session I, five research credits will count as points toward the grade in the class (up to 5% of the grade) and one credit will count as extra credit (1 percentage point added to the final grade in the class). Once again, to receive points toward the grade in the class, students must complete these research credits by the end of Week 16 – last day of classes.

You may not work ahead. You will only receive up to 6 credits for Session I and 6 credits for Session II. In other words, if you try to complete all 12 credits in Session 1, you will only receive credit for 6 credits and the extra credit will NOT roll over to Session 2. The same goes for applying Session II credits to Session I.

In order to obtain full credit in the course, you must complete five research credits between Weeks 4 and 9 (Session I) and five more credits between Weeks 10 and 16 (Session II). Research credit is based on the time associated with your participation. An experiment worth ½ credit will take 30 minutes or less. An experiment worth 1 credit will last between 30 and 60 minutes. Some experiments are worth more than 1 credit. Hours of participation are rounded to the nearest ½ hour. 

While you can participate in as many studies as you wish, you will only receive extra credit for 2 additional research credits (one in each session). For example, if you complete 7 research credits in Session 1, only 1 research credit will be counted as extra credit. The other additional research credit will not be counted as extra credit.

Each research credit is worth 10 points (1% of your course grade). Thus, you can earn up to 100 points (10% of your course grade) through research credits. In addition, you can complete up to 2 research credits for extra credit for an additional 2% (20 points) added onto your course grade. You may not work ahead. You will only receive up to 6 credits for Session I and 6 credits for Session II. In other words, if you try to complete all 12 credits in Session 1, you will only receive credit for 6 credits and the extra credit will NOT roll over to Session 2. The same goes for applying Session II credits to Session I.

Throughout the semester, you will receive mass e-mail notifications regarding surveys that you can complete. These surveys DO NOT count towards the credit that you need to earn in your course. Additionally, experiments that are conducted through a different department on SONA (e.g., communication has SONA) DO NOT count. You must complete all experimental credits through the psychology SONA system. 

Click "Study Sign-Up". A list of all available experiments for which you qualify will appear (certain studies have restrictions). You can sign-up by clicking on either the study name or "Timeslots Available", and you will go to a new screen showing more information about the study, with a link to View Time Slots for This Study.

Click the "Sign-Up" button to schedule your time. You should then write down or print out the study information (name, place, time, etc.) that appears in the final window. You will also receive an e-mail reminder the day before the study time you have selected.

As a note, if you fail to show up three times, you will be locked out and will no longer be able to sign-up for studies.

If you forget when or where your experiment is, check your e-mail for the SONA reminder, or login to http://ou.sona-systems.com/default.aspx and check your appointments. 

  1. Make sure you are going to the correct website: https://ou.sona-systems.com/default.aspx. (Note: If you are not enrolled in a psychology course, then you are on the wrong page.)
  2. Make sure you are using the correct username and password. If this is your first time logging in, your username is your 4x4 and your password is your OU student ID number.
  3. If you are still unable to login, contact the SONA Coordinator at psychresearch@ou.edu. Be sure to include your first and last name, 4x4, and the name of your course in your e-mail. 

Because of the time and opportunities wasted (the researchers' and other students who could have taken that spot), if you sign up to participate and then fail to show up for a study in three or more occasions without canceling in advance or fail to provide the experimenter with a reasonable excuse for not showing-up without cancelling the study, you will lose the opportunity to complete the research credit requirement by participating in studies. After your third unexcused no-show, you will no longer be able to sign-up for studies. You will still be able to utilize the alternative assignment option, writing research summaries, to complete the research credit. Similarly, if you arrive late to a session, the experimenter may not be able to accommodate you and that would also count as an unexcused no-show.

IMPORTANT: If you change your mind about participating in a study for which you have signed up, or if circumstances beyond your control keep you from attending, you must cancel in advance of the session time. If you can provide a reasonable excuse for not cancelling a study in advance of the session time, you must contact the experimenter ASAP to avoid receiving an unexcused no-show.

First, make sure you are at the right location. Provided you are at the right location, it is recommended that you wait 15 minutes. If the researcher does not show up after 15 minutes, then you can leave, and you will be granted 0.5 credits for your time spent waiting. Be sure to e-mail the researcher to let them know that you showed up for the experiment but no one was at the location.

Steps for canceling a sign-up: 

  1. If you need to cancel a timeslot you have signed up for, you can do this from the My Schedule and Credits page. Choose the My Schedule and Credits option from the top toolbar.
  2. You will see listed all the studies you have signed up for, as well as those you have completed.
  3. Studies you have signed up for that you are allowed to cancel will have a Cancel button next to them. If you cannot make the experiment session you signed up for, you need to cancel it, either within the SONA system or by contacting the researcher directly prior to the start of the study. After your third unexcused no-show, you will no longer be able to sign-up for studies. Thus, if you know you cannot keep the commitment, be sure to cancel the appointment.  Also, there is a time limit before the study is to occur, when it is too late to cancel. This restriction is listed at the bottom of the page (it is often 24 hours before the study).
  4. 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.

The system will keep track of the credits you earn, and your instructor will have access at the end of the semester to a report of credits earned by students enrolled in the class. It is a good idea, however, to occasionally print a personal copy of your credits earned and hold on to that printout as a back up to the system.

The researcher must grant you credit. This is usually done within one to two weeks after your participation. If it has been some time and you have still not received credit, contact the researcher (his or her contact information should be listed when you click on the study name within the system). Make sure to include your name, date of participation, and study number when contacting the researcher.

Certain studies have prerequisites that you must complete in order to participate in the study. Most of these prerequisites are included in the pre-screening survey that is sent out at the beginning of the semester. Other studies may have restrictions, such that if you have completed participation in one study for a lab, you may be unable to complete other related studies because your knowledge could influence your participation in the related study.

If it is near the end of the deadline for completing studies, it is unlikely that more studies will open up. Thus, you will need to complete research summaries in order to receive your credit. You are strongly advised not to wait until the week prior to the deadlines to complete your experimental credits as many students will be wanting to participate in a limited number of experiments. 

Typically the only reason for not being able to participate in studies is because you have reached the maximum number of unexcused no-shows. After your third unexcused no-show, you will no longer be able to sign-up for studies. You will still be able to utilize the alternative assignment option, writing research summaries, to complete the research credit.

You can change the e-mail address where notifications are sent by going to My Profile and editing the e-mail address you see there.