Subject Pool (SONA) FAQ’s for Minors and Objectors

Subject Pool (SONA) FAQ’s for Minors and Objectors

If you object to participating in research or if you are under 18 years, you will complete alternative assignments

Table of Contents

What are 'Alternative Assignments'?

Research Alternatives are on-line tutorials that require students to read about and experience psychological phenomena. Students are required to complete a written assignment as they go through each tutorial. Research Alternatives have deadlines and must be completed by the due date shown in the assignment description.

Signing up for Research Alternatives: What do I have to do?

First, you must go to a special web site called SONA (http://pennstate.sona-systems.com/) when you arrive, you will log in using your PSU access ID (e.g.,xyz123) and your regular PSU password.  Once you initially log in, you will be asked to answer some questions, one of which will allow you to opt to complete the alternative assignments instead of participating in research. 

Second, You will use the SONA website to access the research alternative:  http://pennstate.sona-systems.com/.

Once on the website, click “VIEW AVAILABLE STUDIES” to see the research alternative assignments.

**NOTE:  there are due dates for these assignments, so check in regularly and adhere to the due dates!**

The research alternative assignments are all handled through the SONA system.  There is no need to hand in a physical copy of your assignment to your instructor.  Credit for the research alternative assignments will be granted once the due date for the assignment has passed.

How do I get credit once I complete a research alternative?

Do not hand your completed research alternatives to your instructor or TA. These are completed online, and there is no need for hard copy. Your credit will be updated electronically, usually a few days after the participation deadline. You can check to see if your credit has been updated by using the SONA web site (use the ‘My Schedule/Credits’ link).

Note: The SONA web site tracks your research participation. Your instructor tracks your other course credit separately.

Can I do more than the required number of Research Alternatives for extra credit?

For PSYCH 100 and PSYCH 105 students the answer is – YES. Once you have completed 6 hours of participation (6 research alternatives), you are welcome to complete up to 2 more for extra credit. Please see your course syllabus for information about how this additional participation will count towards your course grade.

Missed Research Alternatives

Like many class assignments, research alternatives have deadlines. Information about deadlines is included on the Subject Pool web site. Research Alternatives are reviewed and processed manually (not by a computer), so turning these assignments in on time is important. If you sign-up to participate in a research alternative and do not hand it in, you will be a assigned a “no show.” Students who complete 6 or more research alternatives without getting a “no show” will receive a point of extra credit. 

Please remember, you are required to participate in 6 of the 8 research alternatives available. If you miss too many, you may not be able to complete the participation requirement and earn the full amount of credit.

If you miss a deadline due to extenuating circumstances, please contact the subject pool adminstrator () with an explanation.