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SONA is a website designed for managing your research participation easily. It allows you to sign up to take part in studies and research assistance, and then when you have taken part, course credit will be given to you automatically. A list of all the research credits you have completed will be accessed by your instructor at the end of the term. Important: It is your responsibility to log in to SONA regularly to sign up for research participation, and to make sure you attend.

Using SONA - A guide for Psychology students

Hello! Welcome to the University of Montana Psychology Department’s Participant Sign-Up Page. If you don’t need instructions, you can proceed directly to the SONA log-in where you can sign up for studies.

There are two different types of student participants who use this page. (1) Psychology 100 participants who are required to fulfill research credits in order to complete the course. (2) Other Psychology courses which offer extra-credit for courses. Whichever category you fall into, the process is exactly the same for you. You need to create an account (where you identify which course you are involved in), sign up for study/studies using the online SONA portal, and then show up to the study/studies.

One credit is equivalent to 30 minutes. Psychology 100 participants are required to complete 8 research credits. For psychology courses offering extra credit, see your syllabus and/or your instructor to determine how much each credit point is worth.

It is your responsibility to log in to SONA on a regular basis to browse through the available studies, click on those you wish to sign up for, and book yourself in for a time and day for participation or assistance.

You can view your accumulated credits in the profile section of the site, which will allow you to see how many more you need. If you sign up for a study, PLEASE make sure you show up (or let the researcher know in good time that you won't be able to). No-shows waste a lot of a researcher's time and the department's resources. Only research projects that have been approved by the University of Montana IRB or, when exempt from IRB review, the UM Psychology DEC are allowed to advertise on SONA and award you credits.

Psychologists must adhere to a strict code of ethics in their research. Participants in research studies must give informed consent to take part, must not be coerced into participating, and are free to withdraw from a study at any time. If you do not wish to be a research participant at all, you can still obtain your course credits through alternative research assignments (see your syllabus or course instructor for details).

Taking part in research is one of the best ways to learn how real research is done. Therefore your participation and/or assistance should be educational to you as well beneficial to the research taking place in the School. There is a sufficient range or research going on that you should be able to find something to volunteer for that you’re happy to do. Whether participating or assisting, at the end of the study the researcher will give you an explanation of the aims of the study.

Creating an Account

You first need to create an account. It’s easy. Go to the main University of Montana SONA page. On the lower left, click on the ‘request an account’ link. Then fill out the brief form using your umontana email address, which is typically Do NOT use your NetID. You will be automatically e-mailed your account information and can then log in immediately. It is your responsibility to be sure you select the correct class when you set up your account. If you do not do this correctly, you may not receive credit for your class for the studies you are engaged in.

Logging in to SONA

To log in, return to the main SONA page and log in using your username and password. If you want to change your password, click on "update my profile" at the top of the screen.

Signing Up for Studies

By clicking on Study sign-up, you will be able to see a list of the studies that are currently open to you. (You won't necessarily see the same list of studies every time you log in. Not all studies will be available to all participants, studies are listed randomly, and you will not see studies that are full or finished.)

Click on the name of a study to see available signup slots.

You will then receive an email confirming the study you have signed up for, and the time and place of the study. You will also receive a reminder email the day before the study is due to take place with the same information.

If you are unable to attend your scheduled time slot, you can cancel your appointment by viewing your scheduled time slots and clicking the cancel button. The cancellation deadline will usually be 24 hours before the study takes place (i.e. you will not be able to cancel your appointment in advance after this time) but this will vary from study to study. You may also be able to cancel by contacting the researcher directly, even after this deadline has passed, if you have a genuine reason for not being able to attend at short notice.

Receiving Credit

After you have taken part in a study, the researcher running the study will grant you the agreed number of credits. These will appear on your profile page in SONA, so you will be able to keep track easily of how many more you need.