Opportunities to Participate in Research
Faculty at IUN Psychology department always welcomes enthusiastic students to collaborate with carrying out studies. Conducting serious scientific studies requires dedication, diligence and enthusiasm in reading and learning. The first step for students in getting involved in research is becoming a participant in research carried out in IUN Psychology and to obtain Psychology experience credit (PEC) for P101 students.
The Psychology Experience Credit (PEC) Requirement for Psychology P101 Students
Purpose of the PEC Requirement
As a student taking Psychology P101 you are expected to earn six Psychology Experience Credits (PECs). Like any other course requirement, these credits will be factored into your final course grade. In general each PEC is worth 1% of your course grade, but see your particular course syllabus for details. (You will not receive credit for any more than 6 PEC’s.) You may earn your six PECs by any combination of the following methods:
(1) Participate as a subject in IRB-approved research studies conducted under the supervision of Psychology Department faculty.
(2) Participate as a simulated client in one or more professional training sessions conducted by, and for the purpose of training, advanced undergraduate and graduate students in Psychology. A limited number of these opportunities are available only in the spring and fall semesters.
(3) Write summaries of published empirical research using articles on reserve at the IU Northwest library.
The reason for this requirement is to enhance your understanding of psychology as a science and as a professional practice. The descriptions of psychological research and practice that appear in textbooks necessarily offer only an incomplete picture of what psychologists actually do. Consequently, there is educational value to be gained by experiencing first-hand some of the various kinds of psychological research studies and professional practice activities that psychology faculty and students at IUN are engaged in. Similar benefits can be gained through supplementary readings that expose you to the published psychological research literature (i.e., beyond your textbook).
The two participation options have additional benefits beyond enriching your own understanding of psychology. First by choosing to participate as a subject in research, you can help to expand our collective understanding of human behavior and capacity. We already know a lot about human behavior, and much of this knowledge is documented in your textbook. But there is still a great deal more to learn, and we obtain this knowledge through new research. Psychological research is possible, however, only if people are willing to volunteer to participate in that research. Indeed, if it were not for the many thousands of people who generously volunteered to participate in the past, we would not know nearly as much about human behavior and experience as we do today. By choosing to participate as a subject in research, you will be helping to produce new knowledge that may benefit society as a whole.
Second, by choosing to participate as a simulated client in professional training sessions you will not only gain a better understanding of some of the specific activities that professional psychologists engage in, you will also be helping students in advanced psychology classes learn the skills and techniques practiced by psychologists in many professional settings. For example you can help a student learn and practice interviewing skills simply by volunteering to be interviewed. If in the future you decide to major in psychology, you might find yourself taking an advanced class of this sort. At that time you will get an opportunity to hone your own skills when other students volunteer to be interviewed by you.
How to Register for SONA, the Online Sign-up System
Regardless of how you choose to earn credit, you MUST CREATE an account using the SONA system. The URL for the sign-up system is: http://iunorthwest.sona-systems.com
This system is used to keep track of PECs you earn through research studies, article summaries, and professional training sessions (each is described more fully below). The system is accessible from any computer via the World Wide Web, and should work with any current browser.
BEFORE YOU CREATE AN ACCOUNT, MAKE SURE YOU SEE IU NORTHWEST IN THE TOP RIGHT HAND CORNER!!!! YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE CREDIT IF YOU REGISTER AND PARTICIPATE IN ANOTHER UNIVERSITY’S EXPERIMENTS.
First-time users are required to register before using the system. Click on "Request an account here," which is located under the heading “New Participant?” in the bottom left-hand corner on the sign-up system home page. The registration sub-system will take you through the following steps.
(1) Enter your name, student ID, correct email address, and telephone number.
(2) Create a user ID for this system. YOU MUST CREATE YOUR OWN USER ID. You cannot log in to the system using your IUN user ID unless you designate that as your user ID during this step.
(3) Click on the P101 tab with your instructor’s name in parentheses. For example, if are enrolled in Dr. Mary Ann Fischer’s P101 course, you will click on P101 (Fischer).
(4) Click the “submit” button. A message should appear that reads, “Your request was processed, and your login information (username and password) has been emailed to you. Please check your email for your login information so you may login to the system.” If you have entered your correct email address, you will receive an email from the “Research Participation System.” The email includes your username and a temporary password.
(5) Log in to SONA (http://iunorthwest.sona-systems.com) using your login info from the email. You will be directed to a page that contains your Identity Code. This is a unique 4-digit Participant Identification Number (PIN). This PIN is the only identifying information that will be given to the person(s) running the research participation sessions that you sign-up for. Please remember this number!
(6) Write down your PIN in a safe location! You will be required to provide your PIN each time you attend a research study session or professional training session, and it is via this PIN that you will receive credit for participating
(7) Change your temporary password on this page, hit the update button, and complete the Pre-Screen questions.
(8) You are now ready to log in to the on-line sign-up system at any time to sign up for research study sessions and/or simulated client sessions. If at any time you want to change your profile, click on the My Profile icon. This icon enables you to change your preferred email, the password you set for logging in to the on-line sign-up system, and your telephone number.
Using the On-Line Sign-Up System. Log in to the on-line sign-up system using your user ID and the password you created specifically for the sign-up system when you first registered. Once again, while you are registering, you should see “IU NORTHWEST” in the top right hand corner. If you do not, you are at the wrong SONA site and will not receive any PECs.
1. Participating as a Subject in Research Studies
If you are at least 18 years old, you may earn some or all of your PECs by participating as a subject in research studies. Each 30 minutes of participation earns one PEC. Studies vary in the time required and the available PEC’s. The amount of credit that a particular study carries will be noted in the listing for that study in the on-line sign-up system. Studies usually show available time slots for only a few weeks at most, so grab the opportunities when they appear. Here are instructions for how to sign up for a study.
1. Study Sign-up: Clicking on this menu item displays the studies that are currently available to you and for which you are eligible, based on your answers to the Pre-Screen questions. Each line in the display lists a different study. The studies have names that are unrelated to the content of the study, e.g. “Tulip.” Once you click on a study, you will see the duration of the study, the number of PECs you will receive, and the researcher’s name and email address. To participate in the study, click on the heading “View Time Slots for This Study.” A list of available sessions will appear, including the day, date, start time, length of the session and the location of the session. You must go to the listed room at the proper time to participate in the session. Simply check the "Sign-Up" box at the end of the listing for the session you want.
If for any reason you need to contact someone about a particular session, you may do so by clicking on the name of the researcher for that study. Doing so enables you to send email to that person.
The number of available sessions that are listed for a particular date can vary from day to day. Consider the sessions that may be available for a particular date next week. If you log in today, and log in again tomorrow, the number of sessions listed for that date next week may go up, go down, or stay the same. The number of available sessions may go up if researchers add one or more sessions for that date. Sessions may be added at any time. Thus, if today you don't see an available session for that date, try logging in tomorrow -- one or more new sessions may have been added. On the other hand, the number of available sessions listed for a particular date will go down when other students sign up for those sessions. When another student signs up for a session, that session may become unavailable to you.
2. My Schedules and Credit: Clicking on this icon displays all of the sessions you have signed up for. In the top left hand corner, there is a tally that shows the number of PECs you earned and the number of PECs required. Additionally listed are the sessions you signed up for that have already taken place (past sessions), as well as the sessions you signed up for that will take place in the future (future sessions). Each session listing contains all of the same information as before, plus an additional field indicating whether or not you attended the session. Next to each future session, there is a cancel button. You may cancel any session by clicking on this button. You have until 2 hours before the experiment to cancel a session.
Concerning past sessions, researchers are expected to record students' attendance no later than midnight on Sunday by the end of the week in which the session occurred. For this purpose, the end of the week is defined as midnight on Sunday. Therefore, by Monday morning, you should have received credit for all of the sessions you attended during the previous week. The attendance field may be marked in any of the following four ways:
Awaiting Action: This means that the researcher has not yet recorded your attendance, and that no PECs have yet been assigned for that session.
If a session from this week is marked "Unassigned," wait until next week to verify that you have been properly credited.
If a session from last week is marked "Unassigned," email the researcher for that session and ask when your attendance will be recorded. Be sure to provide the study number, along with the date and time of the session you attended, and your PIN.
Grant Credit: Means that you attended the session and that you earned the number of PECs indicated for that session. Once you are marked as having attended a session, the on-line sign-up system will not allow you to sign-up for any additional sessions from that same study (i.e., sessions bearing the same study number will not be displayed).
Unexcused No Show: Means that you did not attend the session (or that you showed up so late you could not participate), and that you consequently have forfeited the opportunity to earn PECs by participating in either research or simulated client sessions (this forfeiture is described more fully below). Additionally, you will be unable to participate in that study and must find other opportunities to earn PEC’s.
At the Study
If at any time during a study you find anything objectionable and do not want to do it, you have the right to refuse. The researcher may ask you to complete other parts of the study, and if you agree, you may continue. If, on the other hand, you prefer to leave the study, you may do so without penalty.
To help make participating in research studies a useful learning experience, each researcher will explain the purpose of the study. If you have questions about the study, feel free to ask them when you have finished participating. Occasionally, a researcher will ask you to wait until all subjects have participated in the study before explaining it in detail. In this case the researcher will tell you when and where you can expect to get additional information about the study.
2. Participating as a Simulated Client in Professional Training Sessions (available only during fall and spring terms)
A second way to earn PECs is by volunteering to serve as a simulated client in one or more professional training sessions conducted by and for students enrolled in advanced undergraduate and graduate-level courses in psychology. These training sessions are used to teach advanced undergraduate and graduate students the skills needed to conduct interviews and administer various kinds of psychological tests, and take place under the close supervision of the Psychology Department faculty teaching those courses.
Please note that these training exercises have no research component whatsoever. Further, the person receiving the training is the advanced undergraduate or graduate student conducting the session, not you. Nevertheless, by choosing to participate in one or more of these sessions you will gain a better understanding of some of the specific activities that many professional psychologists engage in. Simulated client opportunities will be listed by professor (e.g., Dr. Brewerton) and will include any special instructions and criteria for participation. For participation times and details, you will need to contact the professors directly using the phone number or email listed on the SONA description.
Missing or being late for appointments for research or simulated client sessions
It is your responsibility to show up and to be on time for each of the sessions you have signed up for. Therefore, you should sign up only if you are sure you can be there on time. If you are late, even by a minute or two, you may not be able to participate. Sessions generally start on time, and it is usually not possible to join a session once it has begun. IF YOU DO NOT SHOW UP AT ALL -- OR ARE SO LATE THAT YOU CANNOT PARTICIPATE -- YOU WILL FORFEIT ONE OR MORE FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES TO EARN PECS BY PARTICIPATION.
Three-Strikes and You're Out! If you fail to show up for three research studies OR simulated client sessions (i.e., you are involved in 3 separate no-show incidents), you will forfeit all further access to the on-line sign-up system. This restriction will apply for the rest of the semester! This means that all of your remaining PECs will have to be earned by writing article summaries as described below.
3. Summarizing Empirical Studies
Students may earn some or all of their PECs is by reading published empirical research articles and writing 600-2000 word summaries of the articles. If you are under the age of 18, this is one option for earning PECs.
Writing the summary. Go to the front desk at the IUN library and ask for the P101 Psychology Experience Credits folder that is on reserve. Choose an article. You may borrow it for an hour but you can make a photocopy for yourself if you wish. If you choose to read the library copy, bring a pen and paper to take notes with. Be sure to write down the title and authors of the article. Type a summary of the article in a an electronic document. (File types allowed include MS Word, WordPerfect, PostScript, PDF, HTML, RTF, OpenOffice (ODT), Hangul (HWP) and plain text.)
Before you type your summary, list your name, professor, when your P101 course meets, the title of the journal article, and the author of the journal article in the top left-hand corner. Identifying information should appear as in the following example and will allow us to add PEC’s to your SONA profile:
Your name: John Doe
Your professor: Prof. Fischer
Your course meeting time: T Th 4-5:15
Title of Journal article: “Problem-solving tasks in a foreign language: The importance of the L1 in private verbal thinking”
Author (s): Beatriz Centeno-Cortes and Antonio F. Jimenez
Email your completed 600-2000 word summary to IUNpsychology@gmail.com. If we receive your summary, you will receive a confirmation email from “IUN psychology.” If you do not receive a confirmation email within a couple of minutes, you have sent your summary to the wrong email address.
Essays will be read and checked for plagiarism using plagiarism detectors. If there is any evidence of plagiarism you will not receive PEC credit for your summary and you will receive an email from IUN psychology indicating that we found evidence of plagiarism. In such a case, you must read and summarize a new article. You cannot rewrite and resubmit a revised summary for a previously submitted article. If your summary has no evidence of plagiarism, you will receive two points and a message from the SONA coordinator.
An acceptable summary will include a complete reference to the summarized article, and a brief description, in your own words, of:
(1) the purpose of the research, that is, what theory or hypothesis was tested,
(2) the basic procedure used to test that theory or hypothesis,
(3) what was actually found,
(4) what the findings mean for the theory or hypothesis tested,
(5) discussion of any personal applications that the results suggest, how society might utilize those findings, and/or what additional research seems appropriate.
Credit. Each summary is worth two PECs. Thus, one summary is equivalent to one hour of research participation. Students who wish to do so may earn all six PECs by writing a total of three article summaries. Or, you may earn some of your PECs by this method, and some by one of the other methods.
The deadline for completing all PEC’s, including studies and summaries is Thursday of the last week of classes at 5:00 p.m. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS DEADLINE. If you participate in a study or submit a summary at 5:01 on the last Thursday, you will not receive credit.
If you have questions or concerns about any of the various procedures for completing the PEC requirement, contact the PEC coordinator at IUNpsychology@gmail.com. If you need special assistance in meeting the PEC requirement (e.g., wheelchair access, accommodation for a visual or hearing disability, etc.) please contact the PEC coordinator. The coordinator will have a limited number of office hours which will be listed on the Psychology Department PEC web page each semester.