Research Participation Guidelines

Your participation in research in Introductory Psychology serves two purposes.

  1. You obtain a better understanding of the methods of psychological research by serving as a participant instead of merely reading about research. You are able to witness current developments within the field of psychology first hand.
  2. Your participation contributes to the discipline of psychology by providing researchers with a valuable source of information.

The satisfaction of these two objectives requires the mutual respect and cooperation of the participant and the researcher.

Procedures for Signing up for Research Participation

The Sona Experiment Management System provides Miami University students with an easy-to-use, web-accessible, regulation-compliant interface to handle all the scheduling and management of psychology studies. Students can sign up for studies online and administrators can ensure students have completed all their requirements. This is all done from a simple, quick interface that can be accessed from any web browser, and is available 24 hours a day.

Students can easily log on to the system and view available studies and the times they may participate in those studies. Through our system, students can sign up for their desired study with the click of a button, and cancel appointments up until a specified cancellation deadline. Students are prevented from signing up for a study for which they do not qualify, due to participation restrictions or other reasons. At any time, they can view the number of requirements they need to fulfill, and their progress so far.

Note: If you later discover that you cannot attend the research session, contact the researcher at least 24 hours in advance of the session. You can usually reach the researcher by e-mail or phone; see your online schedule for instructions.

Setting Up Your Account

To request step by step directions please email

Access Sona

Research Participants’ Rights and Responsibilities

When you volunteer to participate in a research project sponsored by the Department of Psychology, you have specific rights.  In addition, your promise to participate is associated with certain responsibilities.

Your rights revolve around the issues of “Confidentiality,” “Informed Consent” and “Educational Benefit.”


Your identity will remain anonymous and your responses will be kept confidential.  In any presentation of the results of the research project, there will be no mention of your name.  Furthermore, the results of the project will be presented so that no one will be able to identify your particular performance in the project.

Informed Consent

The issue of “Informed Consent” involves several principles that will be discussed separately.  The first principle is that you must be informed of the possibility of any risks related to your participation in the project.  Examples of risks include the possibility of nausea, physical pain, or unusual anxiety or stress.  Unusual anxiety or stress is meant to imply more stress or anxiety than one would expect in the day‑to‑day activities of a student.  The possibility of risk must be mentioned at the beginning of the session and you must be given the opportunity of withdrawing from the project without penalty.

The second principle is that after you have been informed about the research project, you may refuse to participate.  This principle means that after the researcher has explained what the research is about and what is expected of you, you may decide to withdraw from the project.  In addition, it is your right to decide, at any time, to withdraw from participation in the project.

You may ask questions about the research any time.  If you have questions about your rights as a human subject you may call or e-mail the office for the Advancement of Research and Scholarship at (513) 529-3734 or

Educational Benefit

In exchange for the time and effort you expend when you participate in a research project, you must receive some educational benefit.  In addition to the actual experience, which may include observing sophisticated pieces of equipment, discovering something about yourself, or learning something new about psychology, you must be told about the purpose of the research and the anticipated results.  This education usually takes the form of a “debriefing” at the conclusion of the research session, when the researcher describes the project and the progress made to that point in time.  The researcher should answer any questions you might have about the project or how it relates to psychology as a whole.  You will usually find that the researcher is eager to discuss the project with you.

In rare instances, the researcher cannot discuss the project as a whole or your performance in particular.  One reason for this is that it would be unethical to reveal tentative or unreliable findings.  The project might involve misinformation which cannot be revealed at this time.  In this event, the researcher will present a general description of the project at the time of the session and will furthermore provide a fuller explanation of the research project at the conclusion of the project.

In all cases, at the conclusion of the research session, you will be given an “Education Sheet” that provides the name of the person in charge of the project, a reference so that you may read more about the project or the general area if you desire, and a brief description of the project. It will also provide documentation that you have completed the experiment should a question arise about your number of research hours. If you become interested in the project, be sure to talk to the person in charge of the project.  KEEP THIS SHEET FOR YOUR RECORDS.

Your Responsibilities

You have two major responsibilities once you sign up to participate in a research project.  Your first is to attend the session for which you volunteered.  It is often the case that a research session requires a certain number of participants.  Your failure to attend a session is not only an inconvenience to the researcher but it may make participation by others less meaningful.

Your second responsibility is to make every effort to arrive at the session on time.  Punctuality is particularly important for those projects which require that several students participate together since your late arrival will either delay others or preclude you from participating in that session.

If you are unable to attend the session, or if you are unable to arrive on time, please attempt to let the researcher know.

Introductory Psychology

Students enrolled in Introductory Psychology (PSY 112) are required to fulfill a research experience requirement.

Parental Consent Form

Students in Introduction to Psychology at Miami University who have not reached the age of 18 years must have a Parental Consent Form on file in the department.

The Department of Psychology at Miami University maintains a Research Experience Requirement as part of its introductory psychology course (PSY 112). The purpose of this requirement is for course participants to learn about research in the department as subjects. As examples of the types of research activities going on in the department, participants may be asked to complete surveys, view and respond. Any student who wishes to serve as a subject in an experiment must sign a written consent form, which is intended to indicate that the participant understands:

  • The types of activities in which he/she will engage in the experiment
  • That his/her participation is voluntary
  • That he/she has the right at any time to withdraw from the experiment without penalty

A final condition for completing the consent form is that the participant acknowledges that he/she is at least 18 years old. Because your son/daughter is not currently 18 years old, the Department of Psychology must obtain your written consent to allow them to participate. This written consent will be kept by the Department of Psychology. At the time of the experiment, your son/daughter will sign the consent form indicating that they are under the age of 18 years old and have written parental consent on file with the department.

Parental Consent forms can be requested in the main office, Psychology Building 100.