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Research Participation FAQ

Research Exposure Requirement Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Research Participation Requirement general questions

How many credits must I earn to complete this requirement?

I didn’t get the Research Exposure Requirement handout in class; can I access it online?

Why are different studies worth different numbers of credits?

How many Research Exposure credits do I have right now?

What happens if I don’t earn enough credits?

What happens if I earn almost enough credits, but not all of them?

I e-mailed the Research Exposure Coordinator, but it’s been several days and I haven’t heard back. Why not?

Online Sona system questions

How do I access the Sona system?

I’ve forgotten my Sona password—what should I do?

I accidentally deleted the e-mail from the Sona system with my user ID and password. How can I log in?

I never received the e-mail from the Sona system with my user ID and password. How can I log in?

Messages from the Sona system keep ending up in my “Spam” (or “Junk E-Mail”) folder. How can I fix this?

Research study participation

I haven’t turned 18 years old yet–can I still participate in studies?

I don’t see any studies listed on Sona. Will I be able to participate in research studies?

Can I participate in the same study twice?

Can I cancel my participation in an in-person study?

I was unable to show up for an in-person research study appointment. What will happen?

I showed up for a research study, but the experimenter wasn’t there. What should I do?

I was on my way to (or showed up for) an in-person research study only to find that the researcher has cancelled. Is this allowed?

I’m having a disagreement with the researcher who was running the study I signed up for. Who can I talk to?

Reaction papers

I’ve got a really cool article I’d like to write about for my reaction paper. Will that be acceptable?

When are the reaction papers due?

How long does the paper need to be?

Does the paper need a title/cover sheet/list of works cited?

How do I turn in a reaction paper?

In what format should my reaction papers be submitted?

I couldn’t get my reaction papers in on time. Will you accept them late?

I submitted my paper and got an e-mail saying it wasn’t acceptable. Can I submit a revised version?

Research Participation Requirement general questions

How many credits must I earn to complete this requirement?

The number of credits is listed in the handout you were given by the Research Exposure Coordinator in your PSYC 101 class at the beginning of the semester. (The credit requirement and handout are
available here: http://www.shepherd.edu/psychology/psychology-research-participation).

I didn’t get the Research Exposure Requirement handout in class; can I access it online?

Yes. A PDF version of the handout can be downloaded from this page:
http://www.shepherd.edu/psychology/psychology-research-participation

Why are different studies worth different numbers of credits?

The credit value of a study depends on how long that study takes to complete. If you will be finsihed in under a half-hour, it is worth one-half (0.5) credits. If it will take between a half-hour and one hour, it will be worth one full (1.0) credits. Note that an extra half-credit is added for in-person studies to account for the time it takes you to get to the appointment and get home afterward. So, a one-hour in-person study would be worth 1.5 credits.

How many Research Exposure credits do I have right now?

You can keep track of your Research Exposure credits, whether they were earned by participating in studies or writing reaction papers, using the Sona system. When you log into your account, there is an indicator on the right that shows you how many credits you have and how many you still need, if any (marked as “pending”). If this latter number (credits pending) is zero, then you’re finished with the requirement.

What happens if I don’t earn enough credits?

If you earn less than the required number of Research Exposure credits, your PSYC 101 grade will be reduced by one whole letter grade. For example, if you finish the semester with a B but don’t earn enough Research Exposure credits, your final course grade would be a C.

What happens if I earn almost enough credits, but not all of them?

To complete the requirement, you must earn all of the credits. If you are even one-half credit short of the required number, you will not have fulfilled the requirement.

I e-mailed the Research Exposure Coordinator, but it’s been several days and I haven’t heard back. Why not?

It is possible that the Coordinator missed your e-mail. If it has been at least 2 business days since you sent it, feel free to send a polite reminder. It is also possible you sent it to the wrong address. The current coordinator is Dr. Levitan, llevitan@shepherd.edu

Online Sona system questions

How do I access the Sona system?

Go to this website: http://shepherd.sona-systems.com Enter the User ID and password you received at the beginning of the semester to log into the system.

I’ve forgotten my Sona password—what should I do?

Visit the Sona page and click the “Forgot password?” button on the right. Enter your Shepherd e-mail address and click the “Email Password” button. You will receive an e-mail from the system with your new password. (Check your “Spam” or “Junk E-Mail” folder if you don’t see it soon.)

I accidentally deleted the e-mail from the Sona system with my user ID and password. How can I log in?

Visit the Sona page and click the “Forgot password?” button on the right. Enter your Shepherd e-mail address and click the “Email Password” button. You will receive an e-mail from the system with your new password. (Check your “Spam” or “Junk E-Mail” folder if you don’t see it soon.)

I never received the e-mail from the Sona system with my user ID and password. How can I log in?

If the Research Exposure Coordinator told you (or your class) that your Sona account is now available, then you should have received an e-mail from the system containing your user ID and password. Check your “Spam” or “Junk E-Mail” folder to see if that message was incorrectly classified as spam.

If you can’t find, or no longer have, that e-mail, then you can re-set your password by going to the Sona login page and clicking the “Forgot Password” button. Enter either your complete Shepherd e-mail address or just your Sona user ID, which is the same as your Shepherd e-mail ID (the part before the “@”). A new password will be sent to your Shepherd e-mail address.

If the Sona system tells you that your user ID does not yet exist, then contact the Coordinator (llevitan@shepherd.edu) to have an account created for you. It may be that when the accounts were set up your name wasn’t listed in the official class roster.

Messages from the Sona system keep ending up in my “Spam” (or “Junk E-Mail”) folder. How can I fix this?

If you can, configure your e-mail system to accept messages from shepherd-admin@sona-systems.net without classifying them as spam.

Research study participation

 I haven’t turned 18 years old yet–can I still participate in studies?

Unfortunately, no. You must be at least 18 years old to legally consent to participate in the studies being run in the Department of Psychology. You will still be able to complete the Research Exposure Requirement by writing reaction papers. If you will turn 18 during the semester, then you may participate in studies after you have turned 18.

 I don’t see any studies listed on Sona. Will I be able to participate in research studies?

The answer depends on what time of the semester it is. During the first few weeks, studies are gradually being added to the system. So, there may be a time when there are no studies listed. As you complete studies, those you’ve already done will disappear from the list (because you may participate in them only once). If you’ve already participated in all available studies, then your list will be empty. If it’s late in the semester, the researchers have likely completed data collection—most studies finish shortly after midterms. If there are no studies for you to participate in and you have not yet completed the Research Exposure Requirement, then you will need to complete it by writing reaction papers.

Can I participate in the same study twice?

Generally, no. Most studies allow a given individual to participate only once. After you have done so, that study will no longer appear in the list of available studies on Sona.

Can I cancel my participation in an in-person study?

You can use the Sona system to cancel an upcoming in-person study appointment, as long as the appointment is at least 24 hours away. That is, if your appointment is for tomorrow at 3:00 p.m., then you have until 3:00 p.m. today to cancel. Just log into your Sona account and use the “My Schedule/Credits” link to find this appointment and cancel it.

I was unable to show up for an in-person research study appointment. What will happen?

Each time you fail to show up for an in-person study, you are marked in the system as a “no-show”. After two unexcused no-shows, you will not be able to sign up for any more studies and you will have to complete the Research Exposure Requirement by writing reaction papers. If your absence was excused (e.g., it was an emergency), then contact the researcher as soon as you can and provide them with something to document that it was an emergency. They can mark you as an “excused no-show” and this won’t count against your ability to sign up for more studies. Also, you will still be able to re-sign up for their study later on. Note that “I forgot the session was today” or “I forgot I had a doctor’s appointment at that time” are not valid excuses for missing a research appointment. You may cancel a research appointment as long as it is at least 24 hours in advance.

I showed up for a research study, but the experimenter wasn’t there. What should I do?

First, be sure you had the correct day, time, and location; these may be found in the confirmation e-mail you received from the Sona system prior to your appointment. If you were in the right place at the right time, then forward that confirmation e-mail to the Research Exposure Coordinator (llevitan@shepherd.edu) and include a brief explanation of what happened. You will receive credit as thought you had participated in the study.

I was on my way to (or showed up for) an in-person research study only to find that the researcher has cancelled. Is this allowed?

No. Researchers may cancel appointments, but they must do so at least 24 hours beforehand. If a researcher cancels an appointment with less than 24 hours notice, then you should inform the Coordinator (llevitan@shepherd.edu) of this as soon as possible. If you received a cancellation e-mail, just forward that to the Coordinator. Otherwise, send the name of the researcher and the study name along with the date, time, and location of the session. You will receive credit as though you had participated in the study.

I’m having a disagreement with the researcher who was running the study I signed up for. Who can I talk to?

If the issue has anything to do with your getting credit for the study, you should contact the Research Exposure Coordinator (llevitan@shepherd.edu).

If the problem has something to do with the researcher or the study itself, you should contact the Department of Psychology chair, Dr. Daily (ldaily@shepherd.edu).

Reaction papers

I’ve got a really cool article I’d like to write about for my reaction paper. Will that be acceptable?

Unfortunately, no. Lots of students submit these papers each semester, and the Psychology faculty aren’t able to evaluate the appropriateness of different articles for each one. That’s why we have a pre-approved set of articles available at the Scarborough Library Circulation Desk.

When are the reaction papers due?

The due date for the reaction papers may be found in the handout you were given by the Research Exposure Coordinator in your PSYC 101 class at the beginning of the semester (and available here: http://www.shepherd.edu/psychology/psychology-research-participation).

However, you are strongly advised to submit your reaction papers well before the due date. That way, if there is anything wrong with your paper, the Coordinator can let you know and you will have time to revise and re-submit it before the due date and still receive credit.

How long does the paper need to be?

Reaction papers must be at least 650 words in length. This length applies to the body of your paper and does not include things like your name, a title, your professor’s name, the date, or references (none of which are necessary).

Does the paper need a title/cover sheet/list of works cited?

No. You may include a title, if you like, but this will not count toward the length of your paper. Note, however, that even though you won’t need a references list, you should make it clear at the beginning of your paper which article you writing about.

How do I turn in a reaction paper?

Submit your reaction papers via e-mail directly to the Research Exposure Coordinator at llevitan@shepherd.edu Be sure to include in your e-mail your name and some indication of which of the articles you are writing about.

In what format should my reaction papers be submitted?

I suggest writing your reaction papers in a word processor (like Microsoft Word) or a text editor and saving them to disk. Compose an e-mail message to the Research Exposure Coordinator and attach one or more of those files to that e-mail (see above). You may also copy the text of your paper and paste that into the body of your e-mail, but be sure to send separate e-mail messages for each paper. Links to online papers (e.g., Google Docs, Microsoft 360) will not be accepted as these often can’t be accessed by the Coordinator. Also, papers written in word processors other than Microsoft Word (e.g., Pages) may or may not be acceptable, depending on whether they are readable. Be sure to submit these early, in case they need to be re-submitted in a different format.

I couldn’t get my reaction papers in on time. Will you accept them late?

No. You have had many weeks to write your paper. If there’s any chance at all you might not be able to submit it on the due date, then you should submit it prior to the due date.

I submitted my paper and got an e-mail saying it wasn’t acceptable. Can I submit a revised version?

As long as you can get your revision to the Coordinator by the due date, then yes, you are welcome to submit a revision.