College of Science and Health > Academics > Psychology > Research > Credit Granting for Online External Studies
Online external studies are online studies which are not
hosted within the Experiment Signup System (http://depaul.sona-systems.com), but
instead reside on some other website. This is different from online survey
studies where an online survey is set up directly in the system and no other
website is involved.
For online external studies, you may want to develop some
method of linking the participant’s sign-up in the system to your online study,
so you know who to grant credit to. One way to do this is to ask the
participant’s identity code using a separate survey so that you can use that
code to award credit. [Note: This method is discouraged for the DePaul Psychology Subject Pool, and will result in delays.] The most automated (and preferred, though complicated to set up)
approach is to use the External Study Credit Granting feature, where the
participant receives credit automatically as soon as they finish the study.
Note that if External Study Credit Granting is not used, the
system will not automatically grant credit once the participant has
finished the study, and the reason is that the system does not know when
something occurred on a website outside the system. In this case, researchers
should routinely login and grant credit as necessary.
If you are using Qualtrics, follow these simple instructions from the Sona Systems help pages to set up automatic credit granting. Skip step 2 unless you need to store identity codes in your data; steps 1 and 3 should suffice for granting credit. More information is available at http://go.depaul.edu/intropsych in the Researcher section. If you are using something other than Qualtrics or want more details about how it works, keep reading below.
With External Study Credit Granting, a participant can
receive credit as soon as they finish the online external study. This is
accomplished by having the external study notify the system that the
participant has completed the study and thus deserves credit.
The notification to the system is done by accessing the
Completion URL for the study. A properly-configured study will have up to two
You should use only one completion URL to achieve
credit granting. For most commercial online survey products, and also if you
are not familiar with programming, then the client-side completion URL is
likely the most appropriate option. To avoid confusion, the system will only
display the client-side completion URL if a commercial survey product is being
used and is known to support only the client-side completion URL.
To see the completion URLs for
your study, first ensure the study is set up correctly as an online external
study. Then, enter the URL for the external site in the Study URL field in
Change Study Information, and save your changes. Next, click on Change Study
Information again and modify the Study URL to include %SURVEY_CODE% in the URL in the appropriate place. If you
entered the URL for a commercial product like SurveyMonkey, Qualtrics, or
Inquisit, then the system will display help text just below the URL with a
suggestion for how to include this. Save your
changes, and the Completion URLs should now appear on the resulting study
information page. In short, the Completion URLs will appear as long as
there is %SURVEY_CODE% anywhere
in the Study URL.
The client-side completion URL
will look something like this:
(where XXXX is the code that
identifies your survey for granting credit in the system)
The server-side completion URL will look something like this
In the example, the XXXX at the end is to show where the
survey code number should be placed (in place of XXXX) by the external study
website. For SurveyMonkey studies, the client-side completion URL will be
slightly different from the example above in the names of parameters, due to a
limitation in how the SurveyMonkey product handles parameter names.
The next step is you’ll need to configure the online
external study to receive the survey code number from the system at the
start of the study, and also to load one of the completion URLs at the end of
the study, while replacing XXXX with the survey code number and pass that to
the system in the completion URL. Because this involves configuring the
external study which is not part of the system, then how this is accomplished
depends on the external study. Usually it involves setting up the survey code
number as some type of variable that is passed in via the URL, and then
configuring a redirect URL at the end of the study to be loaded, with this
variable in the URL.
As this is a complicated
feature, the best method to test it is to actually login to the system as a
fake participant. The entire credit granting process is not possible to
test as a researcher, since researchers cannot sign up for studies. To ensure
other (real) participants do not sign up for the study while you are testing
it, add an Invitation Code to the study (you can remove it later).
The configuration directions for some popular survey
products are below, based on information from those vendors.
With SurveyMonkey, note that some of the features used
within SurveyMonkey may vary depending on your subscription level with
Here are the basic steps, which are subject to change (since
the product is controlled by SurveyMonkey):
External Study Credit
Granting with Qualtrics
With Qualtrics, it is best to follow the URL listed below
that describes the process in detail on the Qualtrics website. In that
document, “panel company” refers to our system, and you will only need to focus
on the Complete Response Link. The Screen-Out Link and Over Quota links are not
applicable or implemented in this situation.
Here are the basic steps,
which are subject to change (since the product is controlled by Qualtrics):
These features are described
on Qualtrics’ site at the following URL:
Inquisit is a product offered by Millisecond Software, and
the instructions below apply to Inquisit Web Edition only.
Here are the basic steps, which are subject to change (since
the product is controlled by Millisecond):
These features are described on Millisecond’s site at the
For help in testing, listed below are the possible messages
that the participant will see when they are redirected to the client-side
completion URL. Note that if the system has a language enabled other than
English, then the message will be displayed in the participant’s preferred
language, instead of English (unless their language preference is English of
Web study credit successfully granted.
The credit was granted successfully.
Invalid experiment_id or credit_token.
The experiment_id or credit_token in the completion URL
was invalid. As this does not change for each participant, this is most
likely to occur if the completion URL was somehow incomplete or truncated.
The survey_code was not specified at all, or was blank.
This may indicate the external study is not properly placing the survey_code
in the completion URL.
Invalid survey_code. ## [some number]
The survey_code was provided, but is not valid for this
You have already received credit for this study. / You
have already participated in this study.
The participant has already participated in this study and
received credit/been marked as participated.
You are not eligible to participate in this study.
The participant has already signed up for this study, but
has been marked as a no-show, and has no other signups for this study which
are in Awaiting Action state.
Web study credit grant error. ## [some number]
Some other generic error. Please contact Technical Support
for more information.