Research Participation - Psychology - Christopher Newport University


Research Participation

All students are welcome to volunteer as experiment participants.

Experiment scheduling is handled through the department’s SONA research registration system.

In order to register for an experiment time slot, you must first request an account by clicking on the link on the left-hand side of the SONA homepage. Once this account is created, you will be able to log in and view available time slot. Additional instructions can be found in the following documents:

Students enrolled in PSYC 201 and 202 are required to complete 90 minutes of research credit for each of these courses, by participating in one or more research studies administered through SONA, or by completing the alternative to research participation assignment. Participants will not be able to sign up for more than 60 minutes of online studies per semester, meaning at least 30 minutes will involve in-person participation.

If you have any questions about the research experience requirement or about the SONA registration and scheduling system, DO NOT ask your instructor. Instead, please contact the Human Participant Pool Committee (HPPC) at the following email address:

If you do not wish to participate in research studies, you may instead complete a research-related written assignment to fulfill the research requirement. All students under 18 must complete the written assignment instead of participating in studies, unless written parental permission to participate is obtained. Be sure to review the Alternative Participation Option – Instructions located below.

IMPORTANT: Even if you elect to complete the written assignment, YOU MUST STILL CREATE A SONA ACCOUNT in order to receive credit for your work.

To gain access to the human participant pool, principal investigators and researchers must meet the following criteria:

  1. The study must be approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at CNU. Please visit the IRB Protection of Human Subjects for more information.
  2. The study must be registered with the HPPC via SONA or by emailing the completed Experiment Registration form along with the study’s IRB approval letter to Please contact with any questions.
  3. Researchers must receive training on the use of SONA either during a training session or by requesting an individual training session by emailing

The CNU experiment participation program is overseen by the HPPC, which includes Dr. Earl C. Riggins, III (Chair), Dr. Gayle Dow and Dr. Sherman Lee.

SONA Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about the CNU experiment participation program should be directed to the HPPC at

Questions about specific experiments should be directed to the faculty member responsible for the experiment, or to the CNU Institutional Review Board at

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Another easy thing to try is simply to use another computer. Usually the computers in university computer labs are configured correctly.

The researcher must grant you credit. This is usually done shortly after your participation. If it has been some time and you have still not received credit, contact the researcher.

Only the researcher and principal investigator of the study may see that you have signed up for it, along with the subject pool administrator. No other users, including other researchers or your instructor, may see this information.

View the My Schedule and Credits page and any non-study credit will also be listed there. See the Tracking Your Progress section of this documentation for more information.

Researchers can choose if their studies allow you to participate more than once. Not all studies allow you to participate more than once.

If you have signed up for a study that has disqualifiers (studies you must not have participated in to participate in that study), you may not then sign up for the studies that are listed as the disqualifier studies. You are allowed to sign up for the disqualifier studies if the disqualifier study will take place after the study with disqualifiers, or if you have already participated in (and received credit for) the study with disqualifiers. The easiest way to sign up for both studies is to schedule the disqualifier study at a time later than the study with disqualifiers.

Certain regulations and research guidelines either require or recommend it. You only need to do it once every six months, so it should not be too intrusive. You will not be asked to acknowledge the policy if this feature is disabled by your administrator.

Email notifications and reminders are sent to the email address you were asked to enter when creating your account. The most common problem we see here is when students entered their numeric ID rather than their email address as their username within SONA. If you made your username your numeric ID, we have no record of your email address and you should contact ASAP to start receiving system emails.

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