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Participant Pool Information - Student Frequently Asked Questions

How do I log in to the Participant Pool (SONA)?

You will receive an email the 3rd week of the term with the information you need to log into SONA, including your username and password. To view an instructional video about SONA, please click here (go to 2:31 for instructions on registering).

How do I sign up for studies?

You can sign up for any study listed on SONA provided you meet the eligibility criteria the researchers list (e.g., age, gender, language background). If you complete the online prescreening from the link emailed to you the first week of your class, researchers also may contact you to schedule a research appointment. For more information on how to sign up for studies once you are registered in SONA, go to 3:41 of the instructional video or

What if I forget my password?

Go to the Psychology Department website and click on the Participant Pool tab at the top of the page, and then click the ‘Forgot your password?’ option. Once you click on this link, type in your Queen's email address, and you will be sent instructions on how to reset your password, so you can log in to SONA.

What if I no longer want to receive emails about participating in studies?

If you no longer want to be contacted by researchers recruiting participants, email Dr. Lee Fabrigar at to request that your name be removed from the prescreening lists.

What if I have a question about a study?
  • For individual studies, contact the researcher in charge (listed on SONA).
  • To report any ethical or procedural concerns regarding the conduct of an experiment or experimenter, contact the Participant Pool Officer, Dr. Stanka Fitneva at or 613-533-2363.
  • Do NOT contact your course instructor(s); they are not involved in administering the studies or granting credits. 
What if I haven’t received credit for a study?

If you have participated in a study but haven’t received your credit, first contact the researcher in charge of the study (listed on SONA). If that does not resolve the problem, then contact stating your name, student number, the name of the study, and the date you completed it.

What if I cannot make my research appointment?

You must contact the researcher via email if you need to cancel an appointment 3 hours prior to the appointed time. If you do not cancel the appointment and fail to show up, you will be penalized. We understand that unexpected events do occur. Notify the experimenter as early as possible so that another student can be recruited to fill your spot.

What if I miss my research appointment without first cancelling?

You should contact the experimenter to explain why you failed to cancel. If further appointments are available, and you are able to reschedule, the penalty likely will be waived. If you are not able to reschedule, but the experimenter is persuaded by your explanation, the experimenter will cancel the penalty. Otherwise, the penalty will remain in place.

What is the penalty for missing an experiment?

Failing to show up for a study without contacting the researcher in advance is a major disruption to the research process and a waste of resources. It also prevents other students for being able to participate in your place. The penalty for missing an experiment is equal to the credit value for the study that you missed, but you will never lose credits already accrued regardless of the penalty. For example, if you already have earned 1% credit, but you miss a study worth 1% credit, you still will receive 1% toward your final mark in one eligible course. However, you will not be able to earn any more credits toward your final mark in that or any other eligible courses until you make up for the study that you missed. That is, if you miss a study worth 1% credit and are not able to reschedule with the experimenter, you will need to complete either two half hour studies or another hour-long study to make up for the study that you missed. These studies will not earn you credit. However, once you have made up for the study that you missed, you can resume earning 0.5% toward your final mark(s) in your eligible course(s) for every half hour of research that you complete.

If I’m enrolled in more than one eligible course, how do I allocate credit to a course?

When you sign up for a study, you will select the course toward which your research participation will be credited. For more details, go to 7:07 on the instructional video or

How will credit affect my grade?

Your final mark will increase by 0.5% for every half hour of research participation you complete. For example, if your mark in the course is a 78%, but you completed two different hour-long studies, your final mark for the course will be a 80%. Thus the grade on your transcript will be an A- instead of a B+. Your instructor will list the amount of credits allowed in each course on the course syllabus. For PSYC 100, students can earn a maximum of 5% toward their final course grade. For participating PSYC 200-level courses, students can earn between 2%-5% depending on the course.

If students are enrolled in more than one 200-level course, they can complete studies toward each course. However, the same hours of research participation cannot be applied to more than one course. Research credit cannot be used to improve a failing mark to a passing mark. Course instructors will inform students of the limits and any other restrictions.

Do any courses have restrictions?

YES. Course instructors will inform students of any restrictions or deviations from the standard protocol.

How do I check how much credit I’ve earned?

You will be able to get this information from the SONA dashboard. For more information, go to 3:53 of the SONA instructional video or

When does the participant pool start and finish?

The studies will begin being posted during the third week of the fall term through the last day of classes for each semester. For half-year courses, credits are sent to the instructors at the end of the term. For full-year courses, credits are sent to the instructors at the end of the school year.

What types of studies are available to participate in?

A short description will be available for each study. IMPORTANT: You can participate in a study only one time. You cannot get credit twice for the same study.

What if I don’t want to participate?

Participation in research is entirely voluntary. If you want to earn credit but don’t want to participate in a particular study, students in eligible PSYC 200-level courses have the option of completing an alternative assignment instead. (Please note that the alternative assignment option currently is not available for PSYC 100 students; for the 2017-18 school year, the only way for PSYC 100 students to earn bonus credit is to participate in research.) For the alternative assignment, researchers either will offer a walk-through of their experiment, or they will have you to read an article or blog post, listen to a short podcast, or watch a short video and then answer questions about it. Researchers of the particular study for which you wish to get credit will administer the simulation (NOT your course instructor -- course instructors are not involved in the crediting for studies or alternative assignments). You must contact the researcher of a particular study (see the study’s contact information on SONA) before the last week of classes for the semester to complete the alternative assignment option. Although the length of studies will vary, the alternative assignment will take less time (approximately 30 minutes), so you will earn 0.5% for each alternative assignment that you complete.