Information for Researchers who wish to use the Introductory Psychology Research Participation Pool (Subject Pool)
REQUESTING AN ACCOUNT
You will need a "Principal Investigator" account on the Experiment Management System
in order to set up your study. Each person who will conduct
experimental sessions will also need to be in the system as a
"Researcher" account (including yourself). As of 2017, each user can have a single account with multiple roles, so if you have an existing account as a PI, researcher, or instructor you can simply email the coordinator and ask to have another role added to your existing account. If you do not have an account, you can request one by email.
When you email to request a new account, please put the following on a single line, separated by commas:
userID, last name, first name, email address
UserID is the login name you want for the account, not your DePaul
ID number . Also include a list of any research assistants (undergrads,
grad students, etc.) for whom Researcher accounts need to be created.
For each researcher, list the same four pieces of information on one
line, separated by commas.
OBTAINING IRB APPROVAL
Only studies that have received IRB approval may be posted. You will need your IRB approval number to register a study. The IRB will want you to describe how you will award credit to participants - see the sections below labeled "UPDATING CREDIT AND NO-SHOW RECORDS FOR LAB STUDIES" and "CONFIGURING ONLINE STUDIES TO GRANT CREDIT."
When registering your study in the system, you will be asked to
enter your IRB approval code and IRB approval expiration date. You can
find this information in the approval memo sent to you by the IRB. If
your study was classified by the IRB as exempt there is no expiration
date; in that case just select the latest available date on the menu.
Note that studies classified as "exempt" by the IRB are prohibited
from including minors as participants. Under the federal regulations,
minors (persons under the age of 18 in Illinois) may not participate in
research determined to be exempt. Students who are under the age of 18
may participate in minimal risk/expedited review studies that have
received IRB approval to include participants who are under 18. The
individual studies must be approved for the recruitment and enrollment
of minors by the IRB and must have written into the study plan of work
the mechanism for ensuring that parent/guardian permission has been
obtained and for obtaining study specific assent from the student, or be
eligible for a waiver of these processes. Please consider asking to
include students under 18 when you submit your expedited IRB
applications in the future so that some studies will be available for
Intro Psych students who are under 18.
ADDING YOUR STUDY
You can add either a lab study or an online study. Online studies
can be created within the Experiment Management System using a
point-and-click interface, or you can use a study hosted on an external
website (such as Qualtrics). Almost all researchers use Qualtrics or some other external (external to Sona Systems) survey site, so be sure to choose "Online Exernal Study" as the study type and NOT "Online Survey Study." After adding your study to the system be
sure to make the study "Active". Then click the link to email the
administrator and request that the study be Approved. Once the study is Approved and Active, participants will be able to see signup slots that you post for it.
For online studies, be sure participants have the option to leave
unanswered any questions they do not want to answer unless you have IRB approval to require that all questions be answered (See the LRB FAQ). If you do allow them to leave a question unanswered, the best approach is to make answering each question mandatory before submitting the survey, but include "I prefer not to answer" as
an answer option.
In your description of the study you should state briefly what
tasks participants will do and how long it will take, rounded up to the
next half-hour. You may not, however, say things like "Only 5 minutes
for a half-hour of credit!" Any type of competitive advertising for
participants in the study descriptions is prohibited. The length of the
study should be "30 minutes or less," "60 minutes or less," etc.
Please do not put special characters in your study name like "!!!@@@ My
study comes first in the list alphabetically!!" Studies are displayed
to participants in random order, so that does not work anyway.
Credits are awarded in half-hour increments. So an online study
that takes 30 minutes or less should be listed as 0.5 credits and 30
minutes long; between 30 and 60 minutes is 1.0 credits and 60 minutes
long; between 60 and 90 minutes is 1.5 credits, etc. Credit for lab
studies is also awarded in half-hour increments, but a 0.5 credit bonus
is added for each session if the student arrives on time for the
scheduled appointment. So a lab study that takes 30 minutes or less
should be listed as 1.0 credits and the length should be listed in the
description as "30 minutes or less"; a study that takes between 30 and
60 minutes should be listed as 1.5 credits and "60 minutes or less"; 60
to 90 minutes is listed as 2.0 credits and "90 minutes or less," and so
You must also state the age restrictions of your study in the
"Eligibility Requirements" section. Students under the age of 18 cannot
be enrolled in studies determined to be exempt by the IRB/Office of
Research Protections. If your IRB approval did not specifically
authorize the participation of minors, you must say "Must be at least 18
Studies that underwent expedited or full IRB review can include
participants under 18 if approved by the IRB. If your study has IRB
approval for minors to participate, you should instead state the minimum
age for which your study is approved. If you have permission to enroll
subjects as young as 16, for example, you should state "Must be at
least 16 years old. Students under 18 must bring a copy of their signed
parental permission form to the study." (A generic parental permission
form is provided to students on the Research Participation website.)
You must have them show you a copy of the signed form when they arrive
so that you can verify they have parental permission, and you must also
have an IRB-approved mechanism for obtaining the assent of the student.
ADDING TIME SLOTS
You must add time slots for a lab study so that participants can
sign up. You must also do so for online studies, specifying a deadline
for participants to complete the study. Please set a deadline no more
than a week or two in the future (rather than at the end of the
quarter), and post additional time slots as neeeded.
Each study has an initial enrollment cap set by the system. If you
find that you are unable to add new time slots, it may be because you
have reached this cap. Email the coordinator to request an increase in
the cap if you need to schedule more subjects.
Remember that all studies must be completed by the last day of
regular classes (before finals week). Make sure you do not schedule any
signup slots later than that date.
ONLINE STUDY RESTRICTIONS
Online studies must be made available to only Loop and evening
sections (classes with section numbers greater than 400) and online
sections. After the 5th week of the quarter, you may ask
the coordinator to remove the course restriction and make the study
available to all sections of PSY 105 and PSY 106. Whether we are able
to grant the request depends on the number of subject hours available
that quarter and the number of lab studies being run. If there is a
surplus of subject hours, we may be able to remove course restrictions
earlier. If there is a shortage, we may not be able to remove them
until the last week of the quarter. Researchers conducting online
studies are advised to have an alternative source of subjects (such as
MTurk) as a backup, and to include it in their IRB proposals.
CANCELLATIONS AND "NO-SHOWS"
Researcher Cancellations and No-Shows: Researchers must notify
participants by at least 5:00 p.m. the day prior to the appointment if a
study is to be canceled. If it is not possible to notify participants
by 5 p.m., the researcher must either get someone to run the study in
their place, or post a sign on the door of the study location telling
students it has been canceled and instructing them to go to the
Psychology Department main office to fill out a form verifying that they
were there on time. The researcher must also email the Research
Participation Coordinator about the cancellation (firstname.lastname@example.org
Students who arrive on time for a study and find that it has been
canceled or that the researcher is not there must leave a note for the
researcher and stop by the main office to fill out a form to verify that
they were there at the time of the appointment. Participants will
receive full credit for those studies that are canceled the same day or
those for which the researcher does not show, including the 0.5 credit
bonus for lab-based studies.
. Participants must use the experiment signup website
to cancel an appointment – they are not expected to contact the
researcher directly. If the student does not cancel the appointment at
least one hour in advance, or is more than 5 minutes late, this counts
as a "no-show" and should be reported in the system. If a student
“no-shows" to more than one study, they may not permitted to participate
in any further studies and may be required to use “alternative credit
papers” to complete the rest of their research participation
requirements. Experimenters must record “no-shows” in the research
participation website promptly in order for them to be counted properly.
Please do not report an unexcused "no-show" for an online study! Only for lab studies. Anyone
who signed up for your online study but did not complete it should
be recorded as a "cancellation," since there is no such thing as a
"no-show" for an online study.
Cancellation Deadline: The
default cancellation deadline is 1 hour before the scheduled study; that
is the latest that students can log into the system and cancel an
appointment. In exceptional cases, researchers may need to set an
earlier deadline (such as 24 hours prior to the appointment). If your
cancellation deadline is longer than 1 hour, you must indicate the
deadline clearly in the study description so that students will be aware
of it when they sign up.
Participant & Researcher FAQ
DOWNLOADING YOUR DATA
If your online study data is stored within the Experiment
Management System, be sure to download your data as soon as data
collection is completed (and no later than the end of the quarter).
End-of-quarter maintenance operations will erase all data from online
surveys and the prescreening survey - therefore it is essential that you
download your data before the end of each quarter.
If you would like to download the prescreen data for all
participants in your study, click on your study and then choose
“Download Prescreen Responses”. You can then download all the data at
once, in CSV (comma separated) format.
UPDATING CREDIT AND NO-SHOW RECORDS FOR LAB STUDIES
After each lab-based experiment session, log into the Experiment Management
System and update the participant records by granting credit to the
day's participants, and penalizing any no-shows. Note that you will need to record participants' Sona Systems anonymous ID codes when they come to the lab so that you can grant them credit later!
CONFIGURING ONLINE STUDIES TO GRANT CREDIT
For online studies on external web sites (such as Qualtrics), you must do one of the following: (Method B is strongly preferred)
- Method A. (Discouraged) After the user submits their data in your online survey, send them to a separate form in which they will input their identity code. In Qualtrics, for example, you can change the "next page" that the user is sent to after they submit their survey answers to be another Qualtrics form that will be used to collect the identity codes. Have the user enter his or her system-assigned identity code in this separate, second, Qualtrics form that is not linked to the survey containing your research data. The second Qualtrics form must be restricted so that it can only be accessed from the link in your primary survey page (for instructions, do a web search for the words "Qualtrics Restricting What Website a Respondent Comes From"). Use the identity codes to manually grant credit to all the users who completed your survey. If you use this method, we will have to verify it is configured correctly in Qualtrics before you are allowed to post signups. Expect this to take an additional 1 to 4 weeks.
identify codes are always 5 digit numbers. If you place a restriction
or validation check on the code students enter to make sure it is a 5
digit number, that may prevent students from mistakenly using their
DePaul ID number instead.]
- Method B. (Strongly preferred) Use the External Study Auto Credit Granting function of the Experiment Management System in the "Study URL" section when setting up the study. It can be a little complicated to set up initially, but simple instructions for Qualtrics exist on the Sona Systems Help Pages. Do only steps 1 and 3 (setting up the correct URL in Sona Systems and in Qualtrics) and it should work. Skip step 2 (changing your survey flow fields in Qualtrics to include an "id" field) UNLESS you need to record the subjects' Sona Systems identiy codes in your data to match up with prescreening or other data later. Skipping step 2 will omit the identity codes from your data file when you download it. To prevent the identity codes from being recovered later in Qualtrics, you must also delete all the responses in Qualtrics for that survey after you download your data. This is the preferred method for granting credit for Qualtrics studies, and is the most secure and easiest to maintain once you set it up.
There are also detailed instructions for automatic credit granting that may be useful if you are using something other than Qualtrics.
A demographic survey is administered each quarter during the first
two weeks of class. You can restrict enrollment to your studies based on
answers to one or more prescreening questions. [Note: If you simply need to restrict enrollment based on whether the prescreening survey was completed, the final question on the prescreening survey can be used for this purpose. It just asks "Did you complete this survey?"] You can also restrict
access based on participation in other studies. Both of these options
are available to all researchers within the Experiment Management
If you need to include additional screening questions or measures,
you should create an online study in the Experiment Management System
with the questions you want to include in prescreening. Be sure you
remember to include the option of declining to answer for each question -
if you do not, your additional measures cannot be included in
prescreening. Call your survey something like "2014 Fall prescreening
items for (your name here)."
After creating your online survey in the Sona Systems web site,
email the Research Participant Coordinator and request that your survey
be added to the prescreening survey for the following quarter. Be sure
to clearly identify the online survey that you want included. Only
surveys that have already been created in the Experiment Management
System can be included in prescreening - Qualtrics surveys or other
external Web surveys can not be included. Also please indicate how you
will use the questions to restrict access to a study.
As for any other study, prior IRB approval is required. Note that
the IRB must specifically approve collecting data through prescreening:
Your IRB protocol must specifically identify the exact questions you
plan to include, and must state that you plan to include them in the
"Intro Psych Prescreening Survey." Include a copy of your IRB approval
memo when you email us your request to include questions in
The Prescreening survey generally should NOT be used to simply
collect survey data; Prescreening is for questions that will be used to
restrict participation in a study to certain groups based on their
answers to Prescreening questions. In your email to the Coordinator
please include a description of how your prescreening questions will be
used to select participants and for which study. If your questions are not being used to select participants for a study this quarter, they probably can not be included in Prescreening
- use a stand-alone survey as a separate study instead. Exceptions
will need to be approved by the Subject Pool Manager. When deciding
which measures to include in the Prescreening survey, we will apply the
- The total length of the Prescreening Survey should be 30
minutes or less, including the department's demographic questions and
all researcher-submitted questions.
- Small sets of questions (1 to 5) that will be used to restrict who can sign up for a study will receive the highest priority.
- Standard published scales that will be used to restrict who can sign up for a study will also be included if there is room.
- If the Prescreening Survey is still under 30 minutes long, short
(less than 5 minute) surveys that are simply for data collection may be
- Requests received less than one week before the beginning of classes
may be too late for consideration if the Prescreening Survey is already
full. Two or three weeks before classes begin is a safer margin.
By default, only the standard demographic survey is carried over to
the next quarter's prescreening. If you had a survey included in the
previous quarter's prescreening and wish to have it included again this
quarter, you must request it. Clearly identify the survey that you want
carried over to the next prescreening so that the coordinator knows
which section of the prescreening to re-use.
Be sure to download the prescreening data that you need for your
research before the quarter ends. At the end of each quarter, all
prescreening data may be deleted from the system in preparation for the
next quarter's prescreening session.
Use of the Intro Psych Subject Pool for data collection is
restricted to DePaul Psychology Department faculty and students working
under their supervision.
Direct recruiting of research participants in Intro Psych classes
is strictly prohibited. Researchers may not announce their study in
class, through emails, handouts, flyers, etc. ALL participant recruiting
of Intro Psych students must be done through the online Research
Participation System, and no credit, extra credit, or payments may be
made to Intro Psych students for research participation except as
administered through the Research Participation Pool system.
For routine, administrative, and operational requests and questions, contact the Research Participant Coordinator at: email@example.com
For questions about Subject Pool policies, contact the Research Participation Pool Manager, David Allbritton.