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College of Science & Engineering

Department of Psychology

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SONA Systems

We provide opportunities for students to become familiar with psychological research through personal experience. Research is the foundation of principles that you read about in your textbooks and discuss in your psychology courses. To complement what you learn in your courses, you can gain a behind-the-scenes look at research by serving as a research participant. To provide you with research opportunities, we use SONA Systems to schedule research sessions.

How to use SONA

to SONA


General Psychology (PSYC 10213) Students:

To develop a greater understanding and appreciation of psychological research, all students enrolled in General Psychology at TCU are required to earn 5 hours of research experience. If you are a student in General Psychology and do not earn all 5 hours of research experience by the last day of class, 10% (i.e., 1 letter grade) will be deducted from your overall course grade. You can complete your hours with first-hand participation in experiments, which is the hands-on approach to learning about psychological research. However, if you prefer not to participate in experiments, you may learn about psychological research and demonstrate your ability to understand it by reading empirical articles and taking quizzes on them.

To complete your research experience, you are advised to sign up for an account using SONA by the second week in the semester. SONA is TCU’s web-based system for scheduling research sessions. The first time you log in, you will be directed to complete a short study qualifier. The information gathered from this survey will be kept strictly confidential and will be used to determine if you qualify for specific studies. After completing the study qualifier, you may sign up for study sessions. Studies will be posted in SONA throughout the semester. The times and number of sessions will vary, so please regularly check SONA-systems for new studies and time slots. Please note that hours earned can only be applied to courses taken that semester – hours cannot be transferred between semesters.

Please treat experiments in the same way you would a doctor’s appointment. If you absolutely cannot make a scheduled appointment, contact the experimenter by email to alert him/her about the situation. If you accrue three (3) unexcused absences for failing to show-up to scheduled research sessions, you will be blocked from using SONA-systems for the remainder of the semester.

If you do not wish to participate in research, you may sign-up for the alternative activity via SONA systems. The alternative activity involves learning about psychological research without participating in the studies themselves. Specifically, you will read empirical articles and take quizzes on them. Each quiz will have the same 5 questions (What is the independent variable or variables? How many levels does each variable have? What is the dependent variable? What is the primary hypothesis or hypotheses? What are the primary conclusions of this study?). Responses will be scored, and you must answer a minimum of 3 questions correctly to pass (i.e., 60% correct). Passing a quiz counts as 1 hour of research experience, and you can continue this process (with a new article each time) until the necessary hours are earned. This activity is strictly an alternative option for the requirement to obtain research experience, which means that you may not complete this alternative activity for extra credit for any other class. Please regularly check SONA-systems for dates and time slots. You may also contact the SONA administrator (email located in SONA-systems) at any point throughout the semester to schedule an appointment.

All other psychology courses

Several psychology courses allow students to earn extra credit by obtaining research experience. Your professor will notify you if his or her course offers this option.

Students under 18 years of age

If you are under 18, you need to obtain permission from a parent/guardian prior to participating in studies. Complete the following form and return the document to Cindy Hayes (WIN 240).

Parental Consent Form