Information for Investigators
Only investigators affiliated with the Psychology Department 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.
Graduate students, undergraduate students, and any other persons outside of the department wishing to use the PRP must fill out a PRP Use Request Form and send the completed form to email@example.com (Note: This does not apply to established faculty members). Once this is received, along with IRB approval and the necessary documentation, a SONA account will be provided and a study can be added to the system.
Any investigator wishing to use undergraduate Psychology Department 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 chair of the Psychology Department. 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). To get started using the PRP, view this instructional video:
Frequently Asked Questions for Investigators
The following questions are commonly asked by investigators. Please read them to learn more about participating in the PRP:
How do I use the Psychology Research Pool (PRP)?
Investigators who wish to draw from the Psychology Research Pool (PRP) to recruit research participants must submit the following the PRP Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org:
- Documentation of approval of the research project by the University of West Florida Institutional Review Board
- A related journal article to be used for the Alternative Assignment
- Optional: A copy of the flyer announcing your study to be be posted on a bulletin board in the department. The flyer should include sign up instructions. Please do not include faculty names on the flyer.
Note: For ALL non-established faculty members (adjuncts, graduate students, undergraduate students, persons outside of the department), a PRP Use Request Form must be submitted to email@example.com and approved before any other documentation is accepted.
Once the necessary forms are approved by the PRP coordinator, your study can be added to SONA and will be listed on the website as available to participants. The PRP coordinator will then contact you by e-mail to notify you of the posting. After this time you may begin adding timeslots and running participants in your study.
Be sure that you finish data collection by 5:00 p.m. on the specified deadline. Your cooperation will ensure that the students receive their extra credit before final grades are posted.
If you would like to continue data collection and offer ArgoPoints for your study during the next semester, please inform the PRP coordinator on the specified deadline date.
How do I put a study on the PRP?
All studies for the PRP are listed on our SONA website. To get started adding your PRP to the website request an account from the PRP coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org). You’ll need to add a researcher name (either yourself or the name of your lab) and a PI, which should only be a faculty member’s name.
- Once you get confirmation of your account, you’ll “build” your own study on the SONA website (uwfprp.sona-systems.com).
- Add new study
- If the study is in the lab, it is a standard study. If it is a survey, it is an online external study, and will then be linked to the site (e.g., your own surveymonkey code).
- Study Name: Give your study a name that you want students to see.
- Detailed Description: Give your study a brief description that you want students to see.
- Eligibility Requirements: Usually none, unless you want to restrict it to females, single fathers, etc.
- Duration: How long will this study take per participant?
- Points: ArgoPoints are awarded by the following guidelines: 1 pt for each 30 minutes of participation, 1 additional point for a lab study, 1 additional point if the participant has to return for a second phase of the study.
- Click on “active study.“
- If you have restrictions (e.g., I have two similar studies and students can only participate in one), do not add the study yet. Instead visit the advanced settings and look at pre-reqs and disqualifiers.
- You can also make a few decisions about reservations and cancellations- I let them cancel within an hour. I also let them sign up an hour before the study begins.
- Add your study. It will then have to be approved by the PRP coordinator.
- When you look at “My studies,” you’ll see all your active studies even if they have not been approved. If your study is not approved, click on the study and you’ll see a blue box in the study status for “send request.” Be sure to do that so the PRP Coordinator knows there is a study awaiting approval.
Once the Coordinator approves, you can Add Timeslots for participation. For an external survey, you may add one timeslot that ends after the participation deadline and make the capacity 100 (or any max number). For a lab study, you can add timeslots according to your availability.
How do I advertise my study to get participants?
Once approved by the PRP coordinator, your study can be added to SONA and will be listed on the website as available to participants. Students wishing to participate in the PRP will be directed to SONA for more information about available studies. You can also provide a flyer that you would like to use on the departmental bulletin board. The flyer should include sign up instructions and should NOT include any faculty names. Fairness between researchers shall be attempted by keeping all advertisements limited to one flyer in a centralized location (the PRP bulletin board). You may post advertisements outside of Building 41 according to your own discretion. You may not recruit from Psychology courses except by going through the PRP to maintain fairness to all students and investigators. You may link to your studies from your research or lab webpage. You may recruit from non-Psychology courses.
Can I pay students to participate in my research?
Students may do your study for ArgoPoints (extra credit) or payment, but not both. The description of your study will include the option of payment, and it is your responsibility to ensure that students who receive payment are not included on the ArgoPoint Participant Reporting form.
What is an ArgoPoint?
ArgoPoints are participation points given to students utilizing the PRP. A student will earn one (1) ArgoPoint for each half-hour of research participation. The points are always rounded up to the nearest hour. A student may also earn ArgoPoints by reading the psychological research articles posted on the PRP website and completing the corresponding writing assignments. After a student has read one of the posted psychological research articles and completed a writing assignment the student will earn one (2) ArgoPoints. At the end of the semester, ArgoPoints will be translated into extra credit points by the course instructor.
Can I put restrictions (e.g., only females, only freshmen) on participants in my study?
There may be projects that require researchers to restrict the type of student that may participate. If your study is restrictive, you have the option to also submit a research article that is similar to your study. The PRP coordinator will post this study as a suggested writing alternative to your study for those who cannot participate.
When do I start collecting data?
Once the necessary forms are approved by the PRP coordinator, your study will be listed on the website as available to participants. The PRP coordinator will then contact you by email to notify you of the posting. After you have been notified by the PRP coordinator that your study has been approved for inclusion in the PRP, you will need to download an ArgoPoint Participant Reporting Form. Please be sure that you understand how to use the ArgoPoint Participant Reporting Form, and contact the PRP coordinator if you have any questions. Also, be certain that any students who receive payment (or some other incentive) for your study are not also listed on the ArgoPoint Participant Reporting form. At this time, data collection can begin.
What is an ArgoPoint Participant Reporting Form?
If a student is receiving extra credit, the researcher must collect the name of the student, the participating course, the name of the course instructor, and the number of ArgoPoints earned. To maintain consistency and allow ease of consolidation across researchers, please use the Form in Excel that will be provided to you to record the necessary information.
How do I award a student credit for participating in my study?
When a student completes his/her participation, you’ll have to award them credit in SONA. Go to the uncredited sign-ups and you’ll see three options:
- If students complete the study, make sure the ArgoPoints match and mark “participated.”
- If students cancel within an appropriate time-frame, mark “excused no-show.”
- If students do not show up and do not offer an acceptable excuse, mark “unexcused no-show.” These add up for students across studies. After 3, the students are no longer able to sign up for a study.
What if I conduct an online survey?
When students exit your online survey, please ensure that they are linked to a separate page that asks for their first and last names, the participating course, and the course instructor's name. Please be sure to consider this when designing your online survey. Then, it will be easy to download the names of all of your participants into an Excel spreadsheet and e-mail it to the PRP coordinator. If you do this, there is no need for you to transfer participants' names to the ArgoPoint Participant Reporting form. Please be sure to include the PI name on the Excel spreadsheet for reporting purposes.
How should I debrief participants using the PRP?
During data collection, you are required to provide students with a debriefing form when they have completed your study. In addition to debriefing the students, this form will serve as the students' proof that they participated in your study. Follow these guidelines when creating a debriefing form.
- The debriefing form should consist of a description of the debriefing procedures with specific information about how participation in the study and debriefing will enhance the educational experience of the participants. This requirement may be satisfied in one of two ways:
- Option 1) Include a copy of the debriefing form that will be distributed at the time of study completion. This form should include background information about theories and research that are relevant to the study and references for additional reading. This form will also serve as students' proof of participation, and students should be instructed to retain it for their own records. Prior to leaving the lab, students should sign and date the debriefing form in the presence of the investigator/research assistant. Then, the investigator/research assistant on duty should sign and date the form before students leave with it in their possession. This helps to protect against unauthorized duplication of the debriefing form for the purpose of academic misconduct. If students participate in a study online, please prompt them to a separate proof of participation survey that appears anytime that they exit your study. The proof of participation survey should consist of one item that requires them to type their name in a box and print the page as proof of participation. If you have questions about creating a proof of participation survey, please contact the PRP coordinator at email@example.com.
- Option 2) Investigators who are concerned about contamination of the subject pool might prefer to delay providing written material until after data collection is complete. These investigators should describe the debriefing that will be given to participants before they leave the laboratory and the educational information that will be provided once data collection is complete. Describe the specific procedures that will be used to contact participants at the end of data collection to ensure that they receive the educational information. Educational information must be provided prior to the end of the semester in which the student participates in the research project. In this case, students should still be provided with a handout that serves as their proof of participation in the research study before leaving the lab. Prior to leaving the lab, students should sign and date the handout in the presence of the investigator/research assistant. Then, the investigator/research assistant on duty should sign and date the handout before students leave with it in their possession. This helps to protect against unauthorized duplication of the handout for the purpose of academic misconduct. If students participate in a study online, please prompt them to a separate proof of participation survey that appears anytime that they exit your study. The proof of participation survey should consist of one item that requires them to type their name in a box and print the page as proof of participation. If you have questions about creating a proof of participation survey, please contact the PRP coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The debriefing form must have a space for both participant and researcher signatures, as well as participation date.
- Instruct participants to retain this form for their records. Investigators should not accept photocopies of the debriefing forms as evidence of non-credited participation.
If students participate in a study online, you must ensure that they are directed to a debriefing form/proof of participation page that may be printed when they are finished. It is important that you prompt them to print the debriefing form at the end of the study and retain it for their records.
What do I do regarding no-shows?
Students will neither be awarded nor deducted ArgoPoints. Participation is completely voluntary. As such, according to OHRP (www.hhs.gov/ohrp) now states: 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.
When do I stop collecting data?
To allow the PRP coordinator enough time to report participation back to instructors, your ArgoPoint Participant Reporting Form must be returned by 5:00 p.m. on the specified deadline each semester. The next upcoming deadline may be found on the PRP website. You may continue to collect data after this deadline, but students may not earn ArgoPoints during this time. Please ensure that students are aware of this policy prior to his/her participation. The PRP coordinator will send a report of all students who earned ArgoPoints after the participation deadline each semester. For this reason, it is critical that your ArgoPoint Participant Reporting form is submitted by the deadline. No exceptions can be made for individual students.
What do I do if a student does not complete the entire survey for my study?
Students must not experience any loss of benefits if they begin your study and then choose to stop it for any reason. This requirement is true for survey research as well. Consequently, students should be awarded full ArgoPoints that are offered for a survey even if they decide to stop participating before they have completed the entire survey. Participation is completely voluntary, and a student must be free to stop their participation if they begin to feel uncomfortable. When creating your online survey, please be sure that students are directed to a proof of participation page that may be printed anytime that they choose to cease participation in the study.
What if the researcher/research assistant is a no-show?
If a researcher cancels his/her time slot(s) with MORE THAN 24 HOURS notice, no points are awarded to the student(s). With LESS THAN 24 HOURS notice, the researcher MUST grant the student(s) 1 ArgoPoint, regardless of the number of points the study is worth. With LESS THAN 24 HOURS notice, AND the canceled slot is for the participant(s)' FINAL APPOINTMENT in a MULTI-PART STUDY (i.e., a study that meets more than once), then the researcher must grant the FULL POINT VALUE of the study. The researcher may ask the student to reschedule, however, the student is not obligated to do so.
What if my research assistant is also a student in a participating course?
The research assistant may not complete your study for ArgoPoints, but may complete an alternative Article Response Form for ArgoPoints.
For more information about participating in the research pool, contact the PRP Coordinator at email@example.com.