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Participation in Psychology Studies

All students in Psychology 1010 are required to obtain experience with the methodology of psychological research through participation in psychology studies or through the completion of an equivalent option. Several other classes allow extra credit for participating in research or equivalent. The purpose of this document is to provide more insight into this requirement and to provide some details about participation. Additional information is provided in the syllabus for your particular course and section.

Psychological Research: A Behind-the-Scene Glimpse

In your psychology courses you will be reading and hearing about scientific investigations designed to inform us about the behavior of humans and other species. To better help you understand how such investigations are conducted, you will have the opportunity to participate in various research projects throughout the semester. Your participation in these projects will give you a behind-the-scene glimpse of how researchers try to answer important questions about the causes and effects of a variety of behaviors. At the conclusion of every project you will be provided with a verbal or written summary of the purpose of that project. You are encouraged to ask questions about the projects in which you participate so that you can learn more about the scientific enterprise. In addition to its educational value to you, your participation in research projects contributes to the scientific enterprise by helping Ohio University’s investigators gain a better understanding of behavior. In fact, one day a project you participated in may appear in a textbook that will be used to teach psychology to your own or your friends’ children.

Some Important Points:

  1. If a student in Psychology 1010, you will be required to obtain 6 credit points by participating in studies or fulfilling an equivalent option (see point 11 below).
  2. A credit represents one hour of participation. Credits are distributed in half hour (0.5) increments.
  3. You may participate in additional studies (or do the equivalent option) for extra credit (see course syllabus for more details); however, only 2 credits total can be obtained via online studies, not including the prescreen (see point 5 below).
  4. According to ethical guidelines, individuals may withdraw, without penalty, at any time from a study in which they are participating. In these cases, credits will be allocated in terms of time participating thus far (no loss of credit for time participating), though it may be less than the total credits for the study. This is known as prorating. The purpose of this guideline is to insure that individuals may cease participating in a study if they feel uncomfortable about what they are being asked to do; however, individuals do not need to specify a reason for withdrawing.
  5. Students sign-up for studies via the Study Management System. Your OHIO e-mail address (without the “@ohio.edu”) is your logon id for the system. Your PID number (including the P) is your password. Your OU (or Blackboard) password will not work as your password for this system, unless you change it once logged in. You should receive an e-mail for the Study Management System account near the beginning of the semester indicating that you are in the system (usually second day of semester). If you registered late, wait a couple of days for the system to be updated. If you change your password and then forget it, you can have it sent to your OU e-mail account via the “Lost Your Password?” link on the login page. Some of you may get in (i.e., log on), but then immediately get kicked out with a message about your authentication expiring. This is because the web site uses “cookies” to keep track of your authentication and your web browser is not set to accept cookies. You can change your browser’s setting if you have the problem. There will be a "click here" on the error message page (if you are kicked out) that provides instructions for how to change the setting in various web browsers.
  6. If you log on to the web site within the first two weeks of the semester, you will be asked to complete the prescreen. This is used by many of the experimenters to determine who is qualified for their studies. For example, some researchers only want female participants and others only want male participants. The prescreen must be done all in one sitting, so make sure you have a block of time (at least one hour, though it is often shorter). The website does not save an incomplete prescreen, so if you stop, expecting to return, you will need to start over! Completing the prescreen will earn you one research credit. You are not required to complete the prescreen. You can sign up for studies that are available to you without the prescreen, but the number of studies available will be somewhat reduced because many use the prescreen screening mechanism. If you have not taken the prescreen, you will not see studies that are based on answers to the prescreen. If you choose to decline, and then change your mind, you can go to the "My Profile" menu and click the “take prescreen” link near the bottom (only available if you have not taken the prescreen). However, the prescreen will only be available for the first two weeks of the semester. So plan to do it early. Once completed, you will be able to sign up for available studies. Studies are likely to become available as the semester progresses, especially after the prescreen shuts down.
  7. Signing up for studies via the system is fairly straightforward. The website has an FAQ for questions as well. If you need further help, instructions can be obtained online via the Psychology Departments signup. This site also has links to maps and directions to the common locations for studies.
  8. The system also records the credits you receive for participating in studies. Your instructor has access to a running total of the credits you have received, but not a list of the studies in which you participated. If you change sections during the semester, you will likely be listed in both courses, but credits only go to one course. Make sure they are going to the correct course or contact the system administrator (psychstudies@ohio.edu) to make the change in the system. Otherwise, your instructor will not know the number of credits you earned during the semester!
  9. The failure of an individual to show up for a study can result in substantial problems for other participants and the researcher. For example, some studies involve individuals participating together. If one person does not attend, the entire session must be canceled. Also, by signing up you are taking a slot someone else might use. It is for these reasons that we ask that you please attend the sessions for which you sign up. If you change your mind about attending or foresee that you cannot make it, you may cancel your sign-up via the Study Management System up to one hour before the scheduled study. If you do not cancel and then fail to show up for more than 5 scheduled sessions, you will no longer be able to sign-up for studies. At that point, you will be able to do the article option only (see point 10 below); however, your total points accumulated (in terms of both studies and article options completed) will be available to your instructors.
  10. Experimenters are obligated to show up on time for their studies. If a researcher does not show up for a scheduled study, you should first check the time and place of the study on-line (you might be at the wrong place or at the right place but on the wrong day or time). You can usually do this from any computer with Internet capabilities (the sign-up system is available from the Psychology Department’s home page). If you had the correct time and place and met the stated criteria, the researcher is obligated to give you half a credit for taking the time to show, regardless of the number of credits the study is worth. Please contact the researcher to obtain this credit. If the researcher is late, but has sufficient time to conduct the study, credits will be awarded based on the time between the originally scheduled beginning and the time the study ended.
  11. You may also fulfill the course requirement by responding to a set of questions regarding the methodology involved in studies reported in psychology journal articles. Articles can be found on the web, via your instructor, or via the closed reserved desk at the library. Once you have read an article, complete the set of questions, and complete and submit the Article Option Journal Summary Form.  You are expected to spend about 1 hour on each article and thus you will receive 1 credit for each article/set of questions. IMPORTANT: You may only submit two (2) article option forms per week. If you are not participating in research, you must plan ahead to obtain the credits desired.
  12. Important conclusions are reached about human behavior from psychology studies. Please respond in a serious manner to the tasks involved in the studies.

We hope you find that participating in psychology studies is interesting and informative.

Special note to Students in COMS 1010, 1030, 1100, & 2020: Students in these courses are asked to participant in Communication Studies’ Research Participation System. It is similar to the Psychology system, but with a different URL (ohio-coms.sona-systems.com). The systems do not communicate with each other and many of their rules are different than the Psychology departments (e.g., no choice of studies).