Student Instructions

Instructions for Students who wish to participate in the York College Research Pool.

York College Research Requirement

The Departments of Behavioral Science and Social Science requires that all students taking these courses:

  • Anthropology 101
  • Anthropology 220
  • Psychology 102
  • Sociology 101
  • Sociology 220
  • Social Work 101
  • Social Work 350
  • Social work 360

gain exposure to research and research practices in Psychology, Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology. This exposure can be met by students participating in ongoing research projects at York College or by participating in alternative non-research assignments.

Students must obtain a total of four credits of research participation credit. Research studies differ in the amount of credit that they offer and the amount of credit is based upon the difficulty of the study. The topics and activities of the studies will be clearly indicated before you sign up for these studies. The credits earned by each study are clearly indicated when signing up for a study.

You may also fulfill the requirement by doing alternative assignments -- which are non-research educational activities, such as doing a take-home experiment demonstration, reading a research article and taking a quiz (with the option of doing the quiz until passing), reading online learning assignment about ethics in human research, attending an in-person workshop on APA style, or reading research articles and taking a short quiz for each article. The topics and activities of the assignments will be clearly indicated before you sign up for these assignments. The credits earned by each assignment are clearly indicated when signing up for a study. If you chose this route, you still need to earn four credits.

There are two major reasons for this research requirement: First, it provides our students and faculty with an organized participant pool to enable them to conduct human research at York College. Second, it provides a valuable educational experience for our students by a) exposing them first hand to the techniques and procedures of psychological research, b) giving them an understanding of the function of research and the role of the researcher in psychology, and finally, c) offering them an opportunity to learn about their reactions in specific situations.

All studies in which you may participate have been approved by the CUNY Institutional Review Board (the IRB, the committee overseeing the protection of human research participants at CUNY).

Below, you will find:

  • the "Students' Bill of Rights for the research pool
  • an explanation of specific procedures you will need to follow to meet the requirement
  • an explanation and instructions of how to do the non-research alternative assignments
  • a list of commonly asked questions that students have raised about their research participation, and our answers ".

Student's Bill of Rights

1. You may refuse to participate in any particular experiment.
2. You may withdraw from an experiment while in progress without penalty.
3. You may request that the data you provide be destroyed and not used in any way. There is no penalty or loss of credit if your data are destroyed.
4. It is the responsibility of the researcher to make the experiment an educational experience for you by providing information about the nature and purpose of your participation as soon as possible. A discussion of the results of the study will be available to you as soon as the data are all collected and analyzed.
5. You have the option of doing an alternative assignment in place of participating in an experiment. These will be described below.
6. If you feel that your rights have been violated or that you wish to make any complaints for any reason, you may contact the research pool manager, Ms Karen Manifold (Room 4F-16, 718-262-2699).

Procedures for Meeting the Research Requirement

1. You need to create an account on our online research pool management system, SONA:
To request an account – click the “New Participant -- request an account here” link on the SONA welcome page and follow the instructions. You should make up a user id. Account information will be sent to your email account – so please use a working email account.
Each researcher will post on SONA when they have a study ready. Please check SONA often to find a study.
You must be 18 or older in order to participate in research. If you are under 18 please see the manager. If your 18th birthday is during the semester, you can wait until after your birthday to participate.
2. You should select an experiment that interests you and follow the instructions on SONA to sign-up for a convenient time slot. Note that new experiments are posted daily—if you do not find a study that interests you, check the webpage again every few days.
3. NOTE: You may participate only once in any experiment. If you have already participated in an experiment, you must select different experiments thereafter. (Some experiments have two parts, and are conducted on two different days. If an experiment that you choose has two parts, attend both sessions and receive credit for both sessions.)
4. You must arrive on time at the assigned room posted on the webpage. If you are late you may lose the chance to participate at that time. You must bring your identity code.
5. Please do not be a No-Show! Lateness or failure to keep your appointment may lead to considerable inconvenience for the experimenter and other students. When students are a no-show you lose your right to participate in that study permanently. If this happens, then in order to meet your research pool requirement for class, you must do an alternative assignment.
6. When doing an online study, we suggest that you do the study within two days of signing up for the study. Waiting longer will cause problems. Some students have rushed through online studies by leaving questions blank, randomly clicking buttons or typing in nonsense answers. If a researcher detects that you are doing this they will treat you as a no-show (see #5).
7. When an experiment is over, the experimenter will enter your attendance into the system, usually within 2 days.

Procedures for Meeting the Research Requirement by doing non-research alternative assignments

1. Visit the Research Pool Manager, Ms Manifold, during her office during her office hours.
2. Ms Manifold will show you a list of the available non-research alternative assignments with a brief description of the topic, activity and credits earned. Select your assignment. Each assignment will have instructions on how to complete it.
3. Return the completed assignment to Ms Manifold or visit her during her office hours for the quiz.
4. For assignments with quizzes, you can re-read the assignment and re-take the quiz as many times as you wish. For these assignments, you my answer at least 80% of the questions correctly to receive credit.

Research Requirement Frequently Asked Questions

I can’t log on to SONA. What should I do?

Email, call or visit the research pool manager.

Why are there no studies listed on SONA?

Studies are offered based upon when researchers are ready to conduct their studies. There will be enough studies for all students to get credit! That’s guaranteed.

Usually, it takes a few weeks for researchers to begin to post studies. Then there are ample studies for at least eight more weeks. Then, as the semester nears the end, studies drop off. Students should check SONA every day or so.

I did my study, but the study says, “pending,” on SONA. What does that mean?

After you complete an in person study, the researcher needs to tell SONA that you participated. Usually this takes a few days. If after one week it still says pending, then contact the researcher directly.

I showed up for a study but the researcher refused to admit me. Why?

There are several reasons why, all listed above.

First, you may not be qualified to be in the experiment. You may not have read carefully the description and the participant requirements.

Second, you may have arrived too late for the session. Remember, researchers are not allowed to let people in late!

Third, you may not have signed up for the session.

I missed a session and was now I have to do an alternative assignment.

That’s not a question; this is an FAQ – frequently asked questions.

I missed a session and was now I have to do an alternative assignment.

Is there any way I could sign up for this experiment again?

No, SONA does not permit participants from signing up for the same study twice. Contact the researcher and if you ask politely they may let you come to a session and then give you credit.

I have a question. Should I go to the Psychology Department?

When should I contact a researcher? How do I do that?

Contact researchers when something about their study is in question. For example, it was an on-line study and something went wrong with the webpage during the study or you haven’t received credit after two weeks. Researcher contact information is on SONA on the experiment's info page.

Why am I required to do this?

We believe that empirical research is an integral part of many disciplines in the social sciences and that students in certain courses should be exposed – experientially – to several instances of empirical research. By participating in research, we hope students will understand research methods better, learn about how research is actually done and will perhaps be inspired to conduct research during their undergraduate career.

What is the Research Pool?

The research pool serves two purposes. First, it’s important for students in some classes (such as Introductory Psychology or Introduction to Anthropology) to have the chance to participate in actually research studies. By participating in research studies, students can come to understand concepts and ideas better. And second, students and faculty members need participants in research studies. By conducting these research studies, faculty members are able to train students and conduct research which has the potential to help people everywhere.


Some of this document has been based upon Hunter College’s Research Pool Document.