Here is information about the Research Participation Pool (RPP) that is specific to faculty and student researchers

On this page

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 last year (2014-2015), important changes have been implemented regarding both (a) the way that research participation “units” are counted, (b) what happens if you fail to show up to a research appointment without canceling, and (c) the penalty for failing to complete the participation requirement for PSY 101 and 202 on time. These changes are reflected in the rest of the RPP web documentation.

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

At the beginning of the semester, the RPP coordinator will contact the psychology research faculty to ask who wants to conduct research using the RPP system. Each participating faculty researcher, as well as any student researchers that are identified, will receive an e-mail that contains his/her login information and instructions on how to begin using the system.

Please e-mail the RPP coordinator (see link to the left of this web page) if you are not contacted you by the first week of classes.

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 Researchers (pdf).

The RPP coordinator is also available to assist you in setting up your experiments.

How do students get matched with a study?

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

Self-Scheduling: Most of the time, students will sign themselves up to participate in a study. They 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 they find one that fits their schedule, they 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 a student is given less than 24 hours notice, s/he is free to cancel this appointment (at least eight hours before the study) if s/he wishes. Students may also cancel this appointment if they choose not to participate after reading the study description. However, if they would like to participate, but at a different time, they will simply contact the researcher to reschedule.

A couple important things to keep in mind:

  1. After students are signed up, they will receive an e-mail confirmation of their appointment with the study’s name and information about when and where it will take place.
  2. Students are expected to 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”.
Who has access to my studies?

All users can see the information about your studies and the available time slots. The RPP coordinator and the researchers for the study are the only people who can see who has signed up, and modify the study.

What counts as a “unit” of research participation?

For research studies, 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 research participation for multiple courses.

How are units of participation credited?

After each day of the study, you as the researcher in charge will give credit for participation through the RPP website. Please note that we are no longer having the system automatically give credit to a participant 36 hours after their scheduled session.

What if a participant fails to show up without canceling?

If a participant fails to appear for a scheduled appointment, without at least eight hours notification, they receive a “no-show”. The researcher running the study can indicate no-shows through the RPP website.

What if the experimenter fails to show up?

Participants are instructed to make sure that they are in the correct location and wait at least 15 minutes. If the researcher does not show up, they can send an e-mail to the RPP coordinator (see link to the left of this web page) who will verify that they attended the scheduled session and make sure they receive the appropriate participation credit. Please note that just as participants are expected to show up at their appointment on time, the researcher is too. Do not break this commitment.

How is each student participant’s 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, other researchers, or their instructor, may see this information. For instance, if a student is enrolled in PSY 101 or PSY 202, his or her instructor will simply know whether or not that student fulfilled the mandatory research participation requirement. He or she will have no idea what was done to satisfy that requirement though.

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

Who is responsible for addressing student 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:

RPP Coordinator
Matthew Gingo