Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of questions frequently asked by students participating in research studies. Your lab instructor will help you understand the procedures for participating in studies, including how to use the Participant Pool system. If you have any difficulties or questions not answered in this FAQ, please email the Department at uconnpsychologyparticipantpool@gmail.com.

General Questions

When can I participate in a study?

You may participate during the time outlined under Important Dates.

How can I find out what kinds of studies are available?

Descriptions of available studies are posted via the Participant Pool system. You can choose which studies you want to participate in by reading a written description of what the study involves prior to signing up for it. A wide variety of theoretical questions and research methods are used by researchers in the Department of Psychological Sciences, providing you with ample choice and variety of learning opportunities.

What can I expect when I arrive at the location of the study?

At the beginning of a study, the researcher will explain the purpose of the study to you and inform you in detail what the study asks of you, what will be done with your data, and if there are any risks or benefits to participating.

Following your participation, the researcher will also explain how the data from the participants will be used to test hypotheses. You should feel free to ask questions of the researcher so that you understand why the researcher asked you to do particular tasks, what kind of data the researcher collected, and what the researcher hopes to learn from the data.

What are my rights as a research participant?

Virtually all studies offered through the Participant Pool involve straightforward investigations that pose no hazard or discomfort to participate. However, a small number of studies may be bothersome or offensive to some people; this information is noted on the descriptions of the studies. Please make sure that you read and understand the description of any research study before you sign up.

If, after being informed about nature of studies or at any point during the study, you wish to stop participating, please inform the researcher. You are not obligated to participate in a study which makes you uncomfortable or which you simply do not want to do. You may withdraw from the research study at any point. You will still receive credit for participating.

Are there any alternatives to participating in research?

If Storrs students don’t wish to participate in research, they may alternately earn credits by:

  1. Writing a brief paper about a research article (2 credits per paper ~ 60 minutes of participation); and/or
  2. Watching a research video and completing a quiz (1 credit ~ 30 minutes of participation).

There are 7 paper options and 2 research video options accessible through a HuskyCT course site called “General Psychology Alternate Assignment”, which will be available at about Week 3 of the semester. To access this assignment please email your NetID and General Psychology Course Section to uconnpsychologyparticipantpool@gmail.com. Requests for the alternate will be added within 72 hours. Please note, you DO NOT have to do any assignments here – it is only for Storrs students wishing for an alternative to the research studies. Look under Important Dates for information about when these assignments are due.

Logging in and Signing Up

When will I get my login information?

You will receive your login information from the participant pool via email the weekend before the first week of labs, which is usually the second week of the semester. The participant pool will send you your Login ID (which is your UConn email address without the “@uconn.edu”) and a temporary password. Once you log in for the first time you will be asked to change your password to something that you will remember.

I forgot my login password. How can I log into my account?

If you ever forget your password, you can use the ‘Forgot Password’ function on the participant pool website to retrieve it (you only need your Login ID to use this function; see above).

What should I do if I don’t receive my login information?

If you added your class late, it is possible that an account was not automatically created for you. To know for sure, try to retrieve your password using the ‘Forgot Password’ function. If this doesn’t work, you will need to contact the participant pool to request an account (uconnpsychologyparticipantpool@gmail.com). To receive an account, please provide the participant pool with your name, student ID number, your specific class (e.g., PSYC 1100), and your professor’s name.

I’ve logged into my account. Now what?

The appointment times, places, number of credits, and participant restrictions are listed in the descriptions. Please check that the date and time of the research study appointment fits into your schedule before signing up. Remember that each credit equates to a half-hour of time. (e.g., For a 2-credit study, you should expect the study to last one hour). When you sign up for a study through Sona, you should receive an email confirmation automatically from Sona. This email contains important information, including the study title, the time slot you signed up for, the location of the study, and your Sona participant ID number, which you should provide to the researcher when you show up for your appointment.

Can I participate in a study without signing up first?

You may not participate in any study without signing up first; this is to ensure that researchers can prepare for the proper number of participants.

I was contacted directly about participating in a study. What should I do?

In rare instances, you may be contacted by telephone or email to invite you to participate in particular studies. You are free to choose whether to make an appointment for these studies, but these appointments follow the same rules as all other studies.

What should I do if it doesn’t seem like there are studies available?

Psych Ph.D. students may also apply for the following opportunities:

When my friend logs into their participant pool account, there are more available studies. Why aren’t all the studies showing up for me?

Some studies only appear to eligible students (e.g., bilingual students, right-handed students, etc.) based on the responses provided in the Mass Testing Survey.

Where can I find my research study appointment?

You can check when and where your appointments occur via the Participant Pool system. When you arrive at the room, look for a sign on the door with the research study number and title as well as instructions about where to wait. Please note that it may disrupt another participant if you enter uninvited; please respect others’ privacy and follow the directions about whether to enter or to wait for the researcher.

I can’t login to the participant pool site, and it’s giving me a “Warning” message. What should I do?

Login information is created largely during the first two weeks of the semester; try again after Add/Drop ends. New login information must be created even if you participated in the participant pool in a previous semester.

If the Add/Drop period has ended, please try the following:

  1. Did you add the class late? Your name might not be in the system. If so, please contact the participant pool administrators at uconnpsychologyparticipantpool@gmail.com.
  2. Did you check your email (including your SPAM folders) for an email from Sona that has your login credentials?
  3. Are you using the correct login (i.e. the first part of your UConn email address – before the @ symbol – in all lowercase) and password (exactly as it appears on the initial email you received from Sona)? Note that upon your first login, Sona will ask you to reset your password from the temporary one it assigned to you.

If none of the above solves the issue, then you can enter the Participant Pool through this link and click the "Forgot Password?" link on the right to reset your password. This should initiate an email to you with a new password.

Why won’t the participant pool site let me sign up for an online study?

Typically, there is a cap to online studies. If you have reached this limit, or if signing up for the study will put you over this limit, the system will not allow you to participate. This cap is typically 4-7 but may vary by semester.

Alternatively, you may have been locked out of the system because you have two “no-shows”. Please see the questions below for information on how to potentially rectify this.

Missing Research Appointments

What are my responsibilities as a research participant?

If you have signed up for a study appointment, you are expected to attend and to participate with integrity (unless you find the study too uncomfortable). Both researchers and other participants depend on you to fulfill your commitments. For example, some studies require several participants to interact, and the study cannot be run if all participants are not present.

How can I cancel a research study appointment I’ve made?

You must cancel an appointment at least 24 hours in advance of the scheduled time via the Participant Pool system. Cancellations less than 24 hours prior to the scheduled time will result in a “no show.” If you must cancel less than 24 hours in advance, you must email the researcher to let him/her know that you will not make your appointment. If the researcher deems that your reason for missing the appointment is valid (e.g., medical emergency), he/she may give you a “zero” instead of a no show, which neither benefits nor penalizes you. However, it is at the discretion of the researcher to decide whether you will receive a “no show” or zero credit for missing your appointment. The researcher may excuse serious events such as illness or family emergencies.

I’ve received a no-show. What does this mean?

If you fail to show up for an appointment due to errors in scheduling, forgetfulness, or have not notified the researcher as to a reason for your absence, the participant pool coordinator will record this as a “no show.” You will receive an email notification regarding each research study appointment no-show you receive.

There is no penalty for one no-show. However, If you have a valid excuse or believe you have received a no-show in error, you may complete a No-Show Dispute Form to attempt to rectify the situation.

What happens if I receive two no-shows?

Once you have two unexcused no-shows, you will be considered to have opted out of the study participation method of fulfilling your experiment credit requirements in your class syllabus. Every class does have alternate methods of obtaining experimental credit. You may continue to attend any existing study appointments and all credits earned prior to the second no-show will remain

You may also complete a No-Show Dispute Form if you feel that you have received a no-show in error, and the Participant Pool Coordinator will contact you within a week. If you do not have a valid excuse for your no-shows, you will remain locked-out for the remainder of the term.

Accidental Sign-Ups

I accidentally signed up for the wrong study time. Can I cancel the appointment without receiving a no-show?

The participant pool site allows students to sign up for an appointment less than 24 hours in advance. Unfortunately, immediate cancellation of that same appointment will result in a no-show.

If you can’t make the appointment, first cancel it, and then email the researcher about the cancellation. After sending the email, complete a No-Show Dispute Form and select option 2 as the reason for your dispute.

I accidentally signed up for the wrong study time. Now, I can’t sign up for the same study at a different time. Can this be fixed?

No, if you have a no-show for that study (or are already signed up), you will be unable to sign up for a different time until the no-show is resolved with a No-Show Dispute Form.

Earning Credits

How do I get credits for my participation?

It is the researcher’s responsibility to ensure that you are granted appropriate credit for your study participation. The researcher will ideally give you credits within 48 hours of your participation (usually sooner). No action is required by you to receive your credit, and you should receive an email confirmation from Sona once your credit has been applied. You can check your credits via the Participant Pool system.

How many credits do I need to complete the requirement for my course?

The recommendation for Storrs General Psychology courses is 5 credits for the research/science literacy component. Please consult your course syllabus to find out more about this requirement for your class. Your instructor and syllabus will explain how this credit influences your course grade. Note that 1 experimental credit is equivalent to a half-hour of participation in a research study. Thus, you may complete up to two-and-a-half hours of research participation, that is, 5 experimental credits.

I attended a study. Why have I still not received credit for it?

Normally, the credits you have earned will be updated within 48 hours. Otherwise, you must email the researcher to check the credits you have earned. If the number of credits is not updated in 24 hours after you contact the researcher, you must fill out a Credit Correction Form. The Participant Pool Coordinator will update the number of credits or contact you for further information. You have until the specified deadline to prove that the total number of credits you have earned has been incorrectly recorded. The Participant Pool Coordinator(s) and instructors will not change your credits after this point. Please plan to check your credits during the allotted time.

I attended a study and was supposed to receive X credits, but I only received Y credits. How do I correct this discrepancy?

You may complete a Credit Correction Form to attempt to rectify the situation.

My account says that I received 0 credits for a study. What does this mean?

Receiving 0 credits is different than a no-show and may be given for several reasons (e.g., the cancellation of a study, resolution of a no-show dispute, etc.). Being given zero credits neither benefits you nor penalizes you; it’s as if you had never signed up for the study. If you believe that 0 credits has been given to you in error, you may fill out a Credit Correction Form.

I took the Mass Testing Survey, why is the credit not appearing in my account?

The data are being stored, and it will be synced with your account after the close of Add/Drop.

Issues with Researchers

What should I do if my researcher misses an appointment?

You should be notified in advance if the researcher cannot keep an appointment. If you have arrived for a study and no researcher is present, first, please make sure you have the correct location, date, and time. Sometimes appointments can run over schedule, so please allow at least 10 minutes after the appointment time before you leave, otherwise you may run the risk of receiving a no-show. If the researcher still does not appear, please complete the Absent Researcher Form. Upon confirmation of your claim, the Participant Pool Coordinator will assign credit.

What can I do if I feel I’ve been treated unethically by a researcher?

Please contact Kimberli Treadwell at kimberli.treadwell@uconn.edu. Researchers are obliged to treat participants respectfully and uphold other ethical standards; any concerns you have should be expressed to protect you and other participants.