Psychology Research Pool (PRP) Policies

The PRP, and those associated with the PRP, will comply with APA ethical standards and procedures, and the federal Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP) for the treatment of human subjects involved in research.

Goals of the PRP

  • To provide undergraduates with unique learning opportunities and in-vivo exposure to psychological methodologies that they may not otherwise obtain.
  • To enhance professional growth and research opportunities for faculty and graduate students.
  • To make available a consistent, streamlined participant recruitment mechanism.

Policy and Procedures for Investigators Using the PRP

Only investigators affiliated with the Department of Psychology may use participants from the PRP. This includes: (1) Faculty members in the department; (2) Graduate students under the direction of tenure-track, tenured, or emeritus faculty sponsors; and (3) Undergraduate students conducting research (e.g., honors thesis or directed study) under the direction of tenure-track, tenured, or emeritus faculty sponsors. The department chair will review any other requests from individuals not included in the list above if proper Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval has been obtained.

Any investigators wishing to use undergraduate Psychology students in their research must recruit participants through the PRP. If you feel that your research is an exception to using the PRP (e.g., running a classroom-based study), you must get clearance from the department chair. All investigators must have IRB approval for their research and must have training on the ethical treatment of human participants (again, some special circumstances can be cleared with the department chair such as running an evaluation of the PRP for internal use). This training includes (1) obtaining current National Institute of Health (NIH) certification from (note: this course was revised on March 1, 2008; if your training was completed prior to that date you will be asked to retake the course. NIH recommends renewing this certification every year); (2) reading and understanding the Belmont Report (; and (3) reading and understanding the University of West Florida (UWF) IRB policies and procedures ( These requirements ensure that participants are treated ethically and respectfully. Failure to follow these requirements will jeopardize the existence of the research pool. Thus, any investigator who violates these rules or the rules of the UWF IRB may lose the privilege of using the research pool. 

For more detailed instructions on how to request the use of the PRP, please refer to the “Information for Investigators” web page.

Approved research studies will be posted on the PRP website as well as a bulletin board in the first floor of building 41. Investigators should provide the relevant information about their study by filling out the “Research Pool Request” form from the PRP website. Investigators using the PRP are not allowed to recruit within Psychology Department outside of these two centralized resources with the exception of linking to your current studies on your research or lab webpage. Participants can be recruited from non-Psychology classes or campus buildings other than Building 41. This allows the recruitment of participants to remain equal across all PRP investigators and ensures that any recruitment maintains ethical standards (e.g., is not coercive). 

Investigators and research assistants are expected to keep scheduled participant appointments. If it is discovered that the same investigator/research assistant fails to show up for two or more appointments, that investigator will be put on temporary suspension of data collection privileges. The investigator/research assistant may regain those privileges (at the discretion of the PRP coordinator) by repeating the NIH certification training and writing a 2-page essay regarding the ethics and responsibilities of an investigator/research assistant. If the problem extends to more than one investigator/research assistant in the same study, and five or more “no-show” complaints are verified for any study, the entire study will be put on temporary suspension pending review and recommendations by department chair.

An investigator/research assistant may cancel his/her scheduled research time-slot. If the time slot(s) is canceled with more than 24 hours notice, no points will be awarded to the student. If the investigator cancels with less than 24 hours notice for a single session study, the student(s) MUST be granted one (1) ArgoPoint, regardless of the number of points the study is worth. If, however, less than 24 hours notice is provided for the final session of a multi-session study, then the student(s) must be granted the FULL POINT VALUE of the study. The investigator/research assistant may ask the student to reschedule, however, the student is not obligated to do so.

If an investigator/research assistant does not show up to an appointment, the student will inform the PRP coordinator as soon as possible following the time of the appointment. If the “no-show” information is verified, the student will receive the full point value for the study. If the “no-show” information is not verified (e.g., the student went to the wrong room), the student will not receive ArgoPoints and will be advised to reschedule.

If a student fails to show for a scheduled time-slot, the student should not receive any ArgoPoints but no penalties will be given. Participation is completely voluntary. As such, according to OHRP (www.hhs.gove/ohrp):

Under the provisions of 45 CFR 46.116(a)(8), students must be free to choose not to participate in research that they have signed up for at anytime prior to the start of their involvement in the research. Furthermore, students must be free to communicate their decisions not to participate in research in whatever way they choose, including by simply not showing up for the research.

For more detailed information for investigators, see the "FAQ for Investigators".

Policy and Procedures for Instructors Using the PRP

Instructors who which to participate in the PRP by offering extra credit to students who participate in research or complete the alternative writing assignment must complete the “ArgoPoint Course Opt In” form found on the PRP website at "Information for Instructors". By filling out this form and turning it in to the PRP coordinator (, you are agreeing to allow ArgoPoints (see below) to be used as extra credit in a specific course. 

ArgoPoints are participation points given to students utilizing the PRP. A student will earn one (1) ArgoPoint for each hour of research participation. The points are rounded up to the nearest hour. A student can also earn ArgoPoints by completing an alternative writing assignment. For the alternative writing assignment, students must read two (2) of the approved journal articles posted on the PRP website and write a 2-page paper for each article (the instructions are posted on the PRP website). For completing 2 papers, students will receive one (1) ArgoPoint.

The course instructor will then translate ArgoPoints into extra credit points. For example, 1 ArgoPoint may be 1 point added to the final grade in Professor X’s class, but 1 ArgoPoint may be .5 point added to the participation grade in Professor Y’s class. Each instructor will have complete academic freedom in his or her use of ArgoPoints in a manner that is fair to the student. However, instructors may offer no more than four (4) ArgoPoints per class and it is recommended that those ArgoPoints do not exceed more than 3-5% of course credit. Each instructor will indicate how ArgoPoints may affect the course grade in the course syllabus. Be sure to include detailed information on how students should use the PRP and how they will earn extra credit in your class via the PRP. Suggested syllabus language can be found on the "Information for Instructors" web page on the PRP website.

Any indications of academic misconduct in earning ArgoPoints (e.g., plagiarizing articles, having a roommate complete the paper/study for him/her) will result in a loss of ArgoPoints for that student and the offense will be forwarded to the Dean of Students following the procedures of the Academic Misconduct Policy, which can be found at

For more detailed information for instructors, see the “FAQs for Instructors”. The date that instructors can expect to receive the list of students who earned ArgoPoints for their course may also be found on the PRP website.

Policy and Procedures for Students Using the PRP

Students will be notified which courses participate in the PRP via course syllabi. If students wish to earn extra credit in participating courses, they can choose to sign up to participate in a research study (available studies are posted on the PRP website and on the PRP bulletin board in Building 41) or they can complete the alternative writing assignment. Details on the alternative writing assignment can be found in the “PRP Alternative Writing Assignment Instructions” document posted on the PRP website. Students will receive one (1) ArgoPoint for every hour of research participation, rounded up to the nearest hour (e.g., for a 45 minute study, students will receive 1 ArgoPoint). Students opting for the writing assignment will receive one (1) ArgoPoint for every 2 article summaries submitted.

Students can use any combination of research or alternative writing assignments to reach the maximum number of ArgoPoints in a given course. The maximum number of ArgoPoints per course will be determined by your course instructor. The instructor will also determine how the ArgoPoints will be applied to the course.

Should a student choose to participate in research, they have a responsibility to show up at the scheduled time and to follow the directions of the investigator to the best of their ability. If a student has to cancel an appointment, they should do so as early as possible. Students will not earn ArgoPoints if they arrive late (or not at all), however, they will not lose ArgoPoints either. During the course of the study, students reserve the right to discontinue participation at any time without penalty. Students will receive credit for the time they participated, rounded up to the nearest hour and ArgoPoints will be awarded accordingly.

Students who decide to complete alternative assignments should be aware of the academic code of conduct. More information on the academic code of conduct can be found at Forms of plagarism such as using direct quotes, using the work of another student, and resubmitting old assignments for credit again will not be accepted. Any academic misconduct found will be reported to the Dean of Students following the procedures of the school's Academic Misconduct Policy.

For more detailed information on how students should use the PRP, see the “FAQs for Students”. 

For more information contact the PRP Coordinator at