Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Psychology

Academics

RPP for Student Participants

Here is information about the Research Participation Pool (RPP) that is specific to student participants:

Note: The RPP for the semester officially closes the last regular day of classes (not the last day of final exams) at 6:00 pm. All research participation (including non-study writing assignments) must be completed by this time.

Additional Note: Starting this year (2013-2014), an important change has been implemented regarding the value of one "unit" of research participation. Instead of a unit corresponding to 30 minutes of participation, it now corresponds to 60 minutes of participation. This change is reflected in the rest of the RPP web documentation.

Please realize that it is essential for you to understand how the RPP works for your specific course. Ultimately, you (not your instructor, the researchers, or the RPP coordinator) are responsible for knowing the RPP policy and procedures. If you do not take this responsibility seriously (by making sure you read and understand all of this material), you may fail to satisfy the research participation component of your course.

How do I learn more about the RPP?

These web pages provide a thorough explanation of how the RPP system works. Additionally, there will be an orientation session during the second week of classes where the RPP coordinator will explain the basics of the system. If you are enrolled in PSY 101 or 202, attendance is mandatory for this session. Failure to attend this session is treated the same as not showing up to a study without cancelling (see explanation below). The RPP coordinator let your instructor know when these orientation sessions will be held early in the semester. If you are enrolled in a course that is not PSY 101 or PSY 202, your course instructor will decide if you must attend this session.

How do I get an account to log into the RPP system?

At the end of the second week of classes, each student will receive an e-mail that contains his/her log-in information and instructions on how to begin using the system. When you log in for the first time, you will be required to complete a short online background information survey consisting of a series of short questionnaires and activities. You will also indicate when you are typically free during the week. This online survey is a prerequisite for participation in the various studies being conducted. This questionnaire process must be completed no later than the end of the third week of classes. Failure to complete this process by this deadline is treated the same as not showing up to a study without cancelling (see explanation below).

How do I use the RPP system?

The RPP system was designed to be intuitive and easy to use. You will understand how to do most things just by logging in and looking at the web page.

For more detailed instructions on how to use all of the features of the RPP computer system, please download the Sona Systems Instruction Document for Participants (requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader ).

The RPP coordinator is also available to help you learn how to use the system.

How much research do I have to participate in?

If you are a student enrolled in PSY 101 or PSY 202, then you are required to complete two units (see below) of research participation.

If you are a student enrolled in a psychology course that is not PSY 101 or PSY 202, then the amount of research you should participate in is up to your instructor. You should speak to him/her to answer this question.

What counts as a "unit" of research participation?

A unit corresponds to 60 minutes of participation. Therefore, a two-hour study would count as two units of research participation. The unit value of a study, which ranges anywhere from one half unit (30 minutes of research participation) to two units (two hours of research participation), will be indicated in the study description. Students cannot use the same unit of participation for multiple courses.

What if I am enrolled in both PSY 101 and PSY 202?

You are required to complete two units of participation for PSY 101 and two units of participation for PSY 202. Therefore, you are required to complete a total of four units of participation.

Can one participation unit be used for multiple courses?

Students cannot use the same unit of participation for multiple courses. However, they can split how their units are allocated. For instance, if a student is enrolled in both PSY 202 (requires two units) and PSY 203 (for extra credit), here are two scenarios:

  • If this student completes one unit: S/he should choose to apply this unit to PSY 202 (will still be one unit short for that course).
  • If this student completes four units: S/he should choose to apply two units to PSY 202 (will fulfill that course's requirement) and apply two units to PSY 203 (will count as extra credit).

What if I fail to complete my course's RPP requirement?

If you are a student enrolled in PSY 101 or PSY 202, failure to complete the mandatory research participation requirement by the deadline listed above will result in two penalties. First, the number of units of participation you must earn will increase by one (equivalent to one additional hour). Second, you will not receive a final grade for your course. Students who fail to complete their RPP requirement by the official deadline will have the opportunity to do so by the RPP deadline for the next semester. If the student has completed his/her requirement by this new deadline, the “NG” grade will be replaced by his/her earned final grade. However, if the student has not completed his/her requirement by this new deadline, the “NG” grade will be replaced by his/her earned final grade reduced by one full letter grade. For instance, a student in a Fall Semester section of PSY 101 who earned a “B” final grade but did not complete his/her mandatory RPP requirement on time will then be required to complete a total of three units of participation (instead of two units) and will find an “NG” grade on his/her transcript (instead of a “B”). If this student completes his/her RPP requirement before the subsequent Spring Semester deadline, the “NG” grade will be replaced by the earned “B” final grade. However, if s/he does not complete his/her RPP requirement before the next semester’s deadline, the “NG” grade will be replace by a “C” final grade.

If you are a student enrolled in a psychology course that is not PSY 101 or PSY 202, then the effect of not participating in RPP research is up to your instructor. You should speak to him/her to answer this question.

How do I get matched with a study?

There are two main ways that you can be matched with a particular study:

Self-Scheduling: Most of the time, you will sign yourself up to participate in a study. You can browse the list of available studies on the RPP system. The website lists each study that is available by its name. It also gives the name of the researcher, any restrictions on who can participate, and a brief description of the study. If you find one that fits your schedule, you can sign up to participate at a particular time.

Researcher Scheduling: Although it is less common, researchers may also search for students who meet the requirements for their study and sign them up for a time that fits in the student’s schedule. The RPP system calls this “manual scheduling”. It is important to remember that researchers will not see any participant names. Instead, they will see the student’s unique ID code. Please note that, although there is currently no way to set this up in the RPP system, we ask researchers to schedule participants with at least 24 hours notice. If you are given less than 24 hours notice, you are free to cancel this appointment (at least eight hours before the study) if you wish. You may also cancel this appointment if you choose not to participate after reading the study description. However, if you would like to participate, but at a different time, simply contact the researcher to reschedule.

A couple important things to keep in mind:

  1. After you are signed up, you will receive an e-mail confirmation of your appointment with the study’s name and information about when and where it will take place.
    • Print and save this confirmation notice to know the (a) name, (b) location, (c) date/time, and (d) researcher contact information for the study. Keeping this information is very important! Because other studies may also be going on nearby, you will need to know the study’s name and the researcher’s contact information.
    • Make sure to go to the study, and please be on time! Most studies have to start on time, because many students are scheduled around the same time. If you are late, you may miss the study. Give yourself enough time to find the right place. Researchers’ time is valuable, and they often take a lot of trouble to be ready for you!
  2. Do not wait to be scheduled for a study by a researcher. Instead, you must regularly check the RPP system website throughout the semester for opportunities to sign up for research. Different studies will become available gradually, over the course of the semester, rather than "all at once".

Why are different studies available to different people?

There are several possibilities: the study may be over, meaning that the researchers are finished collecting information from students; there may not be any available time slots at the moment; or you may have different eligibility. Note: If you are not eligible to participate in a study due to particular prerequisites, it may not be visible to you on the RPP system.

How are units of participation credited?

After each study, the researcher running the study will give you credit for participation through the RPP website. It may take a day or two for credit to show up on the website.

How do I check to see if my credit has shown up?

You can easily check your credits on the RPP system at any time and you are encouraged to do so. You can also see your scheduled studies and (both past and upcoming) with dates, times, places. This is a good way to keep track of your progress towards completing the participation requirement over the course of the semester.

If it has been more than two days and you have still not received credit for your participation, contact the RPP coordinator (see link to the left of this web page) who will verify that you participated in the study and make sure you receive appropriate participation credit.

Can I cancel an appointment?

If you become sick or have some kind of emergency come up at the last minute, you can cancel your appointment on the website as late as eight hours before the study. If there are fewer than eight hours before the study, call and/or email the researcher as soon as possible so that you can be rescheduled and another student may take your vacated time slot.

What if I fail to show up without cancelling?

Please remember that when you sign up for a study you are making a commitment to show up for that appointment. The same is true for studies that researchers sign you up for. You should check your schedule and make sure you can commit the to the time. If you cannot make the appointment, you must cancel it immediately. Participants who fail to appear for a scheduled appointment, without at least eight hours notification, will receive a “no-show”. Being a no-show is a serious problem because both other student participants and the researchers are depending on you. It also means that you have missed an educational opportunity.

If you are a student enrolled in PSY 101 or PSY 202, the penalty for receiving a no-show is an increase in the number of units of participation you must earn by one (equivalent to one additional hour). For instance, a student in PSY 101 who no-shows for a study without cancelling will then be required to complete a total of three units of participation.

If you are a student enrolled in a psychology course that is not PSY 101 or PSY 202, then the effect of not showing up to RPP research is up to your instructor. You should speak to him/her to answer this question.

What if the experimenter fails to show up?

First, you should make sure that you are in the correct location. If you are in the correct location, wait at least 15 minutes. If the researcher does not show up, send an e-mail to the RPP coordinator (see link to the left of this web page) who will verify that you attended the scheduled session and make sure you receive the appropriate participation credit.

What if there are not enough studies?

The department will make every effort to make it possible for you to satisfy your course’s research participation requirement via studies, but in case we are not able to do so, you will need to write papers.

For instance, let’s say that you are a student in PSY 202 and you have only participated in one hour-long study (worth one unit) without any no-show penalties. If there are no more studies for you to do, you will need to complete one of the written assignments (also worth one unit). That will satisfy the two units of participation you need for PSY 202.

Keep in mind that you may complete a writing assignment at any time during the semester to count for participation units.

How is my privacy protected?

The RPP system automatically assigns each participant a unique numeric ID code. The purpose of the ID code is to identify participants to researchers in a way that does not reveal their identity or compromise their privacy. Researchers using the RPP system only know participants by their ID code, and not their name.

Additionally, the only people who know who is a participant in a study are the participant, the study researcher, and the RPP coordinator. No other users, including other participants, researchers, or your instructor, may see this information. For instance, if you are enrolled in PSY 101 or PSY 202, your instructor will simply know whether or not you fulfilled the mandatory research participation requirement. He/She will have no idea what you did to satisfy that requirement though.

Furthermore, know that all data you provide, whether they be answers to a questionnaire or responses in a laboratory experiment, are maintained in a way that prevents public or general access. Unless you have given explicit and written permission, none of the data you provide will be published or otherwise disseminated in a manner that allows you to be personally identified.

Who is responsible for addressing my issues?

For students enrolled in PSY 101 or PSY 202, the RPP coordinator will answer all questions about the mandatory research requirement itself and the operation of the RPP system. Instructors of these courses should direct any students with a question, problem, or complaint to the RPP coordinator. Only the RPP coordinator can make determinations regarding whether the research participation requirement has been met. This approach is designed to ensure that the mandatory research participation requirement is handled in a way that is fair and consistent across courses and instructors.

For students enrolled in a psychology course that is not PSY 101 or PSY 202, the RPP coordinator will answer all questions about the operation of the system (including complaints). However, the instructor of the course is responsible for answering question regarding research participation issues that are specific to that course (e.g., “how much extra credit will I earn?”, etc.).


If you still have questions or need assistance, please feel free to contact the RPP coordinator (Jason Reiss, reiss_jason@wheatoncollege.edu | (508) 286-3636).

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