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Research Participation

Research Participation for Course Credit

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and the physiological, cognitive, social, and emotional processes related to behavior. In other words, psychologists use the scientific method to study how we think, feel, and what motivates us to act. Many psychological researchers use theoretical, computational, or animal models to study human behavior; many others use human "subjects." You are invited to participate in the human research studies being conducted by Department of Psychology faculty and student researchers at Fredonia. Your participation will help advance the science behind human behavior.

This webpage provides resources for research participants, including how to sign up for studies, how to earn some extra credit in certain psychology courses by participating in research, and your rights and responsibilities as a research participant. Please see below as well as the links and resources in the right navigation pane for detailed information and instructions. Also, please note that we currently limit research participation to those who are 18 years of age or older. There are alternate methods to earn extra credit in participating psychology courses for those who are under 18 or do not wish to participate in the research studies.

Thank you for your help in advancing the important work of psychological science.

Research Management System

The SONA Research Management System is a website that researchers use to post available studies that you can participate in. You can view available studies and track the research "credits" you earn for participating. Some things to be aware of about this system:

  • One credit in SONA is usually for approximately 30 minutes of participation (on average).
  • Some studies take a few minutes to complete, providing only one credit or even less. Others may take several hours or be split into multi-part studies; these would be worth multiple credits.
  • Some research studies are online surveys that you can complete immediately. Others take place in a particular room on campus, requiring you to sign up for a specific appointment time.

See the Sona Systems link to the left to access the log in screen for the research management system. We also provide a video tutorial for using Sona Systems, a detailed Sona Systems guide for students, and instructions for earning extra credit (research-based or the research alternative). Those links can be found at the bottom of this webpage.

About Earning Course Credit

  • Most studies involve filling out some questionnaires or doing a series of brief tasks.
  • Each instructor decides how many points (or other course benefit) each SONA credit is worth; this is not up to the Psychology Department or the SONA system administrator.
  • Many classes have limits on the maximum amount of extra credit that can be earned.
  • Always see your syllabus or ask your instructor for the details in your course(s).

At the end of the semester, your course instructor will retrieve from the SONA website a list of students and the credits each person earned. However, instructors do not have access to your research data, such as what answers you might have given to a survey. That information is kept confidential by the researchers and is sometimes anonymous, as well. All research at Fredonia is overseen by the Human Subjects Research Board for adherence to national ethical standards, and keeping your data private is an important part of that. The only information your instructor will see is how many credits you earned.

Multiple Classes

If more than one of your courses is participating in the Research Participation System:

  • You can choose which class will get the credits from each study you complete.
  • You cannot "double-dip;" each credit goes to only one course.
  • If you need to make changes to your courses or allocations, contact the SONA System administrator, Dr. Darrin Rogers.

Punctuality and Openness

The Research Participation System is a great opportunity to learn about how actual Psychological Science research is conducted. Research can sometimes be fun, or provide personal insight. Research participation also involves responsibility. The researchers promise to abide by ethical protections and guidelines. As a research participant, you agree to be respectful of the researchers' time by showing up punctually for any appointments you might make, and completing any surveys or questionnaires as openly and honestly as possible.

If you fail to show up or are late for 3 appointments, you will be removed from the system and will no longer eligible to participate. Have no fear, however; you can easily change your appointments within 24 hours of the start time online in your SONA account. Contact the researcher directly if you find yourself outside this window.


Research appointment cancellations are made using the My Schedule/Credits tab in the Research participation (Sona Systems) website. In the event that you need to miss an experiment and cannot access the internet, call the Psychology Department secretary (716-673-3129) in advance.


All studies are approved by a university ethics committee before students participate. Participation is completely voluntary. Any concerns about research should be directed to 1) the researcher in charge of the study, 2) the research participation administrator, Dr. Darrin Rogers, or 3) the Human Subjects Administrator here at Fredonia (Dr. Kathleen Gradel).


If you have more questions, first check our Student Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page. If your question is not answered there, please e-mail the research participation administrator, Dr. Darrin Rogers (


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