Undergraduate Research Participation

The Department of Psychology offers opportunities for students to become involved in research as study participants. In doing so, students benefit through exposure to various research topics and theoretical issues, research methods, and research settings, all of which are features of central importance in psychological science. Participating in studies conducted in the Psychology Department also exposes students to faculty-conducted research, potentially helping them identify faculty with whom they might wish to work as research assistants via independent studies, honors projects, or other supervised projects.

Benefits of research participation

Prior research points to numerous positive educational outcomes as a result of participating in research programs. Bowman and Waite (2003,  p. 102) noted that “Participating in a research activity by volunteering in a research study or by writing a short research paper as part of [the] requirement relates to favorable perceptions of psychology and research, greater knowledge of procedures associated with participation, and [about] … demographic and situational variables [involved in research]. College students who volunteered to participate in a research study were more satisfied with their experiences than those who wrote papers as a part of their research activity.” Indeed, a growing body of evidence demonstrates that students derive tangible educational benefits from participating in research programs (e.g., Bowman & Waite, 2003; Britton, 1979; Coulter, 1986; Davis & Fernald, 1975; King, 1970; Landrum & Chastain, 1995; Miller, 1981; Sieber & Saks, 1989). 

There are two general avenues to serving as a participant in research studies:

  • To meet the PSY 101 (Introduction to Psychology) research participation requirement;
  • To earn extra credit in a variety of PSY courses, if this option is included in the course syllabus.

Information about each of these is provided below.

What do I need to do if I’m enrolled in PSY101?

As a requirement of PSY101, students are encouraged to learn about psychological research beyond what is presented in their lectures and textbooks. This is accomplished by engaging in research-related activity: Earning “research credits” by a) participating in research studies that are offered through the Psychology Department, b) by completing alternative research writing assignments, or c) by some combination of the two. Each PSY101 student is required to earn 8 research credits.

The Information Guide fully explains:

  • The basics of the requirement.
  • The early-participation bonus.
  • How to volunteer.
  • How to receive credit.
  • Cancellations and no-shows.
  • Your rights as a research participant.
  • Details about the alternative research-summary writing assignment.

Students enrolled in other PSY courses

As part of your course, you may be offered the opportunity to earn extra-credit by acquiring first-hand knowledge about psychological research. If this opportunity is applicable to your class, your instructor will make an announcement in class and circulate an information guide. If you are not sure whether you can earn extra credit through research participation, consult your course instructor.

The Information Guide fully explains:

  • The basics of the extra-credit opportunity.
  • How to volunteer.
  • How to receive credit.
  • Cancellations and no-shows.
  • Your rights as a research participant.

How do I sign up to participate?

Student usernames and passwords for the research participation website are automatically created and distributed to students based on the class roster as of the first day of classes. Shortly after the start of the semester, you should receive an email to your university email address (the address listed on your CampusNet) with your logon and password information. 

If you do not receive an email with your Username and Password within the first 10 days of the semester, you should notify the Research Participation Coordinator (; include your first and last name, course section, instructor name, and university email address.

The research participation website (Sona-Systems) can be accessed here:


video tutorial is available, as well as mobile apps for scheduling via smartphone.

Android phones and tablets:

Apple iOS phones and tablets (iPhone/iPad):