Extra Credit for Students

SUNY Fredonia Psychology Department Research Participation Pool:
Guide for Students
Your instructor has decided to allow you to earn extra credit in your course by participating in
the Psychology Department Research Participation Pool. The pool is a group of potential
participants for psychology research studies. The Sona Systems, LLC web-based system is used
to track available research studies in the department, recruit students to participate in studies, and
maintain a list of students’ completed hours of participation. Students who sign up for research
studies through the pool are offered extra credit in return for their time. An alternative
assignment is also available to earn extra credit. Please read the instructions and policies below.
Why Participate?
The foundation on which psychology stands is a large body of scientific research, which is
continuously updating and improving. Much has been discovered about the brain and human
behavior, but new research is transforming our understanding of psychology every day and there
are infinite new discoveries to come. Research is currently being conducted here at SUNY
Fredonia to learn more about such topics as attitude change, cross-cultural psychology, decision
making, developmental psychology, human-computer interaction, memory, sexuality, and sport
There are at least three specific reasons why students should participate in the extra-credit
1. the various research projects allow students to learn about the research topics and
procedures involved in current psychological research.
2. student participation helps to further the science of psychology.
3. students receive extra-credit toward their course grade.
Ways of Earning Course Extra-Credit
There are two ways to earn extra-credit: 1) participate in a research study; or 2) read an article
from a psychology journal and write a summary of the article. Participation in a research study is
recommended over summarizing articles because it gives students first-hand experience with the
research process.
Students must be at least 18-years-old to participate in psychology research studies, but there are
no age restrictions on journal article summaries. Younger students often submit an article
summary in the beginning of the semester and begin participating in research upon turning 18.
Voluntary Participation
All participation in research is voluntary. When you arrive for participation, the researcher will
provide you with a description of what you will be doing during the course of the research study.
The researcher will then ask you to sign an informed consent form (your legal agreement to
voluntarily participate in the study after learning about the information described in the form). If
you do not want to participate, you can leave without giving consent. After consent, the study
begins. You have the right to end the study at any time without penalty. You will still receive
credit for the time that you spent participating.
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Sona, the Research Participation System
In order to view research opportunities and sign up to participate, you will need to logon to Sona
Systems Fredonia website, which houses the research participation pool. Go to:
http://fredonia.sona-systems.com/ from any major web browser. The system works best on a
standard (non-mobile) browser, with current updates and cookies enabled. A detailed user’s
guide and FAQ for the system are available on the Psychology Department website:
After accounts are created during the second week of classes, students will receive an email with
the password needed to access the account. Your user name is the first part of your Fredonia
email address (the text before the @fredonia.edu; for example, “smit9741”). If you have lost
your password, request it using the link on the front page of the research participation website. If
you never received a password, the same user ID needed to log into your Fredonia email account
can be used to request a password.
Research Study Sign-Up Procedure
All available research opportunities are posted on Sona under the Studies tab. Here, you can view
information about the studies, check the times available for participation, and sign up to
participate. When you sign up for a study, you MUST select the course that in which you wish to
earn extra credit. The system will tally your earned credits for each course to which you belong.
In the My Schedule/Credits section you can view the studies you have signed up for, cancel
appointments for participation, and monitor the number of credits you have completed. In the My
Profile section, you can change your password and email address.
Research studies come and go throughout the semester. Be sure to check Sona often for new
opportunities. You will periodically receive email notifications of new research opportunities. In
addition, you will receive an email confirmation when you sign up for a study, cancel a study, or
receive credit for a study. Reminder emails are also sent the day before a study. All emails
should be kept for your personal records.
Recording Appointment Information
When you sign up for a study, you should record the appointment time and location in your
planner or calendar. Appointment information is only available on the research website, so
please carefully note the name, date, time, and location of research appointments when you sign
up for them on the research website.
You will receive 1 credit for every 30 minutes of research participation, up to a maximum of 6
credits. Studies may include more than one session; you will receive 1 credit for each 30-minute
session. All records of credit are maintained on Sona. Ask your course instructor how credits
translate into extra credit in that course. Some instructors record the credit for submitting journal
summaries on Sona, too. If so, you will see instructor credits listed on you’re my
Schedule/Credits page, as well.
Credits may not be transferred between courses or count towards multiple courses. If you believe
there is an error in your number of credits, contact the appropriate researcher, then your
professor and/or the research participation pool coordinator (Dr. Joseph McFall,
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“No Shows” and Tardiness
Students who fail to show up for 3 research appointments are permanently blocked from
involvement in the research participation pool and no longer eligible to participate in future
studies. Blocked students may still submit journal article summaries for extra credit, however. If
you miss an appointment with a researcher due to being at least 15 mins. late, the researcher may
record you as a “No Show” in Sona, which counts toward the 3 “No Shows” blocking policy.
Therefore, please show up on time for all appointments and cancel any appointment that
cannot be attended at least 24 hrs. before the scheduled appointment. Showing up for studies
for which you have signed up is the best way to avoid having your account blocked, but there are
situations in which you might need to cancel a research appointment.
Canceling Research Appointments
You should cancel all research appointments that you will not be able to keep. There is no
penalty for cancelations. Canceling your participation for a study is done by going to the My
Schedule/Credits section of the research participation website and clicking the cancel button next
to the appropriate study. Although some studies can be canceled as late as 2 hours before the
scheduled time, others may require more notice. Please carefully make note of the cancelation
deadline listed under Study Information before signing up. Often, the deadline is 24 hrs. prior.
In the event that you need to miss an experiment and cannot access the internet, call the
Psychology Department secretary (673-3129), in advance, during regular dept. business hours.
You will need to provide the secretary with the experiment name and the date and time of your
scheduled appointment. If you missed an experiment and were unable to call or cancel in
advance, you must provide sufficient written evidence for the absence in order to have it
excused. Take this written evidence, along with the experiment name and date and time of your
appointment, to the Psychology Department secretary in W357 Thompson Hall.
Journal Article Summary
The alternative method of earning extra credit is to write a journal article summary. Each
summary is worth 1 credit. The article summary, plus a copy of the article, should be turned in to
your instructor. You may find articles in the on-line library database, PsycArticles. Go to the
library database webiste (http://www.fredonia.edu/library/db_list.asp) and scroll down to the
link for “PsycArticles.” Your task is to search the database for an article, read it, and write a 2-3page summary that conforms to the outline below. If you need help navigating or searching the
database, visit a research librarian at Reed Library.
Article Review for Extra-Credit
Article Authors:
Date of Publication:
Title of Article:
Hypotheses of the research
Independent Variable(s)
Dependent Variable(s)
Suggestions for future research
Your comments, criticisms
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Reviewer’s Name
Instructor’s Name
Date Submitted
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