Research System Guide

Once your application(s) for Human Subjects has been approved, you should email Dr. Garcia with your request for a researcher account on Sona Systems. All seniors are already entered as researchers. Your request should include your name and faculty sponsor (PI). You will then be given a logon and a password that will enable you to create multiple studies to post on-line. If you go to the website and logon you will have a home researcher page that will give you the ability and the access to post, maintain, and track multiple studies.

Create an On-Line Experiment Visible to Participants

  • Click on “Add New Study”
  • Select the type of study you wish to create.
  • Enter the basic information Keep your detailed description within 50 words or less. This description should have been turned in to HSRC for approval when you submitted your other study materials.
  • Make sure you enter your correct HSRC code AND the correct expiration date.
  • Alter any of the advanced setting to fit your needs for the study.
  • Review all your responses.
  • Click on “Add This Study”.
  • Review your study information.

Set Up Experiment Schedule

  • Click on “My Studies”
  • Click on the study for which you want to post time slots
  • Click on “View/Administer Time Slots”
  • Click on either “Add a Timeslot” or “Add Multiple Timeslots” depending on whether you want to post one or multiple timeslots
  • Enter the date, start time, and any other relevant information that is requested
  • Click on “Add”
  • If a student signs up for your experiment from the Sona System, an e-mail confirmation will be sent to the student automatically and an email reminder will be sent the day before they signed up to participate.

Set Restrictions on Participants

  • When creating a study click “Add New Study”.
  • After entering all the “Basic Information” scroll down to the “Advanced Settings”.
  • Enter or Click on any of the restrictions you want placed on students signing up for your study.
  • Click on “Add This Study”.
  • If you have already created a study and want to place restrictions as to who can sign up for the study after it has been created then:
  • Click on “My Studies”.
  • Click on the study for which you want to place sign-up restrictions.
  • Click on “Change Study Information”.
  • Scroll down to “Advanced Settings”.
  • Enter or Click on any of the restrictions you want placed on students signing up for your study.
  • Click on “Save Changes”.

Set Restrictions on Participant Sign Up

You may wish to prevent participants from signing up for your study just moments before it is scheduled to begin. You can specify a time, after which it will not be possible
to sign up for a session.

  • When creating a study click on “Add New Study”.
  • After entering all the “Basic Information” scroll down to the “Advanced Settings”.
  • Next to “Participant Sign Up Deadline” enter the time you would like, in hours,
    prior to which participants must sign up.
  • If you want to set a time restrictions in sign ups for a study already created.
  • Click on “My Studies”.
  • Click on the study for which you want to place sign-up restrictions.
  • Click on “Change Study Information”.
  • Scroll down to “Advanced Settings”.
  • Next to “Participant Sign Up Deadline” enter the time you would like, in hours,
    prior to which participants must sign up.

Check Experiment Schedule

  • Click on “My Studies”.
  • Next to the study that you want to view the schedule for, click on “Timeslots”.

Manage Experiment by Assigning Credit and Penalty

As participants participate in your experiment you will need to assign credits and penalties for their participation. From the “Timeslots” page you can see how many people, and who has signed up for a particular appointment time. After the appointment start time has passed, you may Credit or Penalize the participant by:

  • Clicking on “My Studies”
  • Go to study for which you need to administer the credit or penalty
  • Go to “View/Administer Time Slots”
  • Click on “Modify” next to the time slots for which you want to administer the credit
    or penalty
  • Click on “Credit Granted” next to the participants name to administer credit or
    “No-Show (Penalty Assessed)” to administer a penalty
  • Participants are assessed a 1 credit penalty for no-shows
  • Click on “Update Sign-Ups” 

After participants participate in your experiment you must assign them a Credit or Penalty as soon as possible. This is the only way participants can receive credit, so it is important to give them their credit in a timely manner.

 Once a participant signs up for an appointment in your experiment you will have the option to cancel his or her appointment from the “Timeslots” page. This is a powerful option because it lets you cancel appointments subjects have made without notifying them or obtaining their permission. If you do use this option be sure that you and the subject have agreed to it beforehand. The intended use of the Cancel option is to allow experimenters to free up an appointment when a subject cancels by contacting the experimenter directly rather than by using the website. Note that an e-mail confirmation of the cancellation will be sent to the student automatically.

A participant has the right to leave the experiment at any time. If the participant chooses to leave prior to signing the Informed Consent document, you cannot give them a penalty and take away a point, but neither should you award them a credit. If a participant has already signed the Informed Consent document and then withdraws from the study, the experimenter has the discretion to award credit if he or she judges the withdrawal to have been made in good faith.