For Researchers who Provide SONA Credit

Before requesting a study approval on SONA, please read over and adhere to this PBS SONA Protocols document. 

Hopefully you are preparing your research programs for the increase in demand for SONA credits anticipated as the Psych 100 intro classes pilot a SONA requirement.  There is also an important change to how no-shows and excused absences are treated.

CHANGE: Unless a participant cancels at least 24 hours before the scheduled time, the researchers should assign an unexcused no-show regardless of the reason.  Exceptions will be handled by SONA administration such that all reasons for missing an experiment without 24-hour notice goes through the same process rather than individual researchers.

THE DETAILS:  It is important to have a no-show policy; for some research having a participant scheduled costs hundreds of dollars regardless of whether the participant shows up or not.  However, not all researchers use the “excused absence” and “no-show” categories in the same way resulting in confusion for students, researchers, and instructors. 

1)     If an experiment is canceled by a researcher or a participant with at least 24-hours notice for any reason, no SONA credit is assigned and no penalty is assigned. 

2)     For online studies that can be completed at any time, if a student signs up but fails to participate by the deadline, no SONA credit is assigned and no penalty is assigned (excused).

3)     For in-person studies and experiments that require a participant to be online at a specified time, if the participant fails to cancel more than 24 hours before the scheduled time and fails to arrive at the designated place within 5 minutes of the scheduled time, the experimenter will assign a no-show regardless of the reason.  If the student believes they have a valid reason for missing the experiment, they email psychsona@umass.edu with the reason and any supporting evidence.  No-shows will be changed to excused for valid reasons (e.g., medical or family emergencies).

4)  For in-person studies and experiments that require a participant to be online at a specified time, if the experimenter fails to cancel more than 24 hours before the scheduled time and fails to arrive at the designated place within 10 minutes of the scheduled time, the experimenter will assign 1 SONA credit for the missed session and offer the participant other times to be in the full study and earn full SONA credits.

Three unexcused no-shows in the same semester will result in a student being unable to sign up for experiments or the in-person talk alternative for SONA credits. However, students in Intro will be able to use SONA credits they have already earned towards the requirement and can request (psychsona@umass.edu) to be allowed to complete the Intro requirement by coming to overflow sessions.  Students seeking to earn bonus points for SONA credits will lose the opportunity to earn more credits. They too can request exceptions (psychsona@umass.edu), but they will only be granted in extraordinary circumstances.

Click here for the SONA sign in page