Researcher Instructions

Instructions for researchers using the research pool.

Conducting research using the York College Research Pool

Only projects approved both by the IRB and the Research Pool coordinator may be posted on SONA. Your use of the Research Pool is a privilege, and with that privilege come certain responsibilities. The Research Pool is concerned with the following issues:

  • That students' trust in researchers is not compromised
  • That students be treated with courtesy
  • That the information students provide be kept strictly confidential
  • That students give their informed consent before participating in research
  • That the research in which students participate have educational value


Most students enter the Research Pool research setting with some level of trust in the experimenter. After all, isn't this person a researcher (or at least a budding one)? Shouldn't they be sensitive to such things as feelings and emotions? Please don't disappoint students' expectations. Even if your study is about serial memory schemata, you are dealing with real people. Be sensitive to their needs and concerns.


Please treat subjects with the same courtesy you would expect. These people are helping you with your research project and deserve your gratitude. If you treat them badly, not only might your data be contaminated, but you may have discouraged someone from choosing a career in the Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Turning in the application

Before turning in the Research Pool application form, you should have had your research project approved by the IRB. Projects "pending" approval by the IRB will not be included in the pool until approval is obtained.

Contact the Research Pool Coordinator for the application form.

Forms are due returned by a two weeks before the semester begins.

Please note that approved applications apply only to the current semester. Please submit a renewal application for a new semester.

Review of applications

When you have turned in this form, the Research Pool coordinator will review your request and approve a certain number of participants for your project. Those doing research for Independent Research, senior theses, and faculty members will get priority. You will be notified of the decision within 10 days of submitting your application.

Submission of non-research alternative assignments

We must ensure that students are free to choose non-research alternative assignments without any penalty. These potential penalties include making the alternatives more onerous that the study or that the alternative does not meet the same educational goals as participating in a study. That is, an alternative assignment for a cognition study should be on the topic of cognition and an alternative assignment for an anthropology study should be on the topic of anthropology.

Before you post your study on SONA, you must submit such an equivalent assignment for approval to the Research Pool Coordinator.

The alternative must meet these guidelines:

  • Similar area/educational goals (see above)
  • Similar difficulty



            Worksheet. The student is guided to conduct a demonstration of a phenomena or principle and then draw conclusions. Completion of the worksheet indicates completion of the assignment. Example.

            Article. The student is given a research report to read and study questions. A multiple choice quiz on the report is created. It will be proctored by the Research Pool Manager. Completion of the assignment is when the student answers 80% or more of the quiz questions correctly. The student may re-read and re-take the quiz until passing. Example.

            Attendance. The student is asked to attend an event. Recorded attendance is taken as completion of the assignment. Example: the APA Writing Workshop.

            Rubrics on credit. The credits granted for non-research alternative assignments cannot be onerous as compared to the credits granted for a comparable research study. Remember that our rubrics for study credit are:

1 credit = one hour of on-line research survey

2 credits = one hour of in-person research survey

3 credits = one hour of in-person research experiment

And 1 additional credit for studies over 60 minutes.

Thus, I would suggest:

1 credit = one hour of work on worksheet

2 credits = one hour of in-person attendance

2 credits = one hour of work on article assignment (assuming a few re-takes)

And 1 additional credit for an additional 60 minutes more of work.


The research pool system is managed via an online system called SONA.  Please contact the research pool manager to obtain your username and password.

SONA login -

End of Semester Concerns

The research pool will close two days before the last day of classes. 

By this date, researchers should have updated all of their study’s attendance/credit information. The day before the last day of classes is the absolute deadline to update your study’s attendance/credit on SONA.

Restrictions on Participant Recruitment

Researchers are not permitted to post other posters or signs, to make other announcements nor to use any other recruitment procedures to recruit research pool participants.  Of course, researchers who have received approval from the York IRB may use other (IRB approved) recruitment methods on-campus to recruit individuals from other participant populations.

If you are using other, non-Research Pool subject populations, you can advertise separately for them, but you cannot use anyone eligible for the Research Pool for that semester using that recruitment method.

For example, let’s say that the IRB has approved your use of any student on campus and to use pizza as a recruitment incentive (and you wish to use the Research Pool also).  This means that you can find non-Research Pool participants and give these participants pizza to participate. This is allowable. However, you cannot recruit students eligible for the research pool using pizza.  I would suggest that you place on your advertising that students currently in the Research Pool cannot participate in the pizza-for-participation study (it's of course the same study, but the students don't know that and it keeps things less confusing).

Instructors are not permitted to announce that specific studies need participants, nor refer to any specific studies.  Instructors are encouraged to announce the research pool requirement in class and remind their students that participation is necessary, in general.  When necessary, the research pool coordinator may inform instructors that students are not showing up for current studies and would appreciate it if instructors would remind their students of the requirement and request that student consider showing up for current studies.  However, this would be a request in general and not for a given specific study.

Regardless, recruiting for a specific experiment by anyone is not permitted.

Researchers who are teaching a Research Pool associated course.

If you have received IRB approval with the stipulation that you will not use your own students, then you must take steps to assure that your students do not end up in one of your experimental sessions.

The easiest way to assure that this does not happen is to list, on the SONA description, under participant restrictions that students currently enrolled in your course are unable to participate.

Canceling Sessions

If you must cancel a session, it is your responsibility to inform they participants by email via SONA.  Also, assuming that a student may not see the email, post a cancellation note on the door where study is schedule to take place. If you are unable to do so please contact the research pool manager or campus security.  If such a cancelation occurs, it is customary to give the participants full credit.

Late arriving participants

Do not admit participants who arrive more than 5 minutes late for an experiment, even if you could accommodate them.  Doing this will encourage lateness which may negatively affect other researchers.


Students who are late to a session, absent from a session, or “rushing” through online studies will not be penalized. Doing so will violate IRB policy. Instead, and based on HHS OHRP guidelines (1/8/2010) will receive a decrease in the number of credits that they can earn from participating in research studies.

Research Pool Manager

Ms Karen Manifold, Behavior Sciences(4D-06)

262-2800 4F-016


Research Pool Committee

Dr William Ashton, Behavior Sciences

Dr William Divale, Social Science

Dr Deborah Majerovitz, Behavior Sciences