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We schedule sessions and recruit participants via the Linguistics SONA. Participating members of the Linguistics faculty have either given us the rosters of their classes, or given their students the option to create an account and participate in experiments for extra credit or as part of an assignment. Some researchers also use the Psychological and Brain Sciences SONA. Only students may request accounts -- to get an account as a researcher or instructor, email the SONA administrator.

For help using SONA, refer to the manual here.


Getting a study on SONA

You may fill out the information for a study whenever you like (Add New Study), but it won't be approved and active on SONA until you send a certification of Human Subjects Approval or other stamped form to the lab manager. You can use any Unicode characters in the textfields for the description and title.

Setting exclusion criteria

You can block signups based on participation in another study by setting prerequisites and disqualifiers (In Change Study Information, Advanced Settings). You may only set prescreen restrictions for paid studies, and you may only list native proficiency in a language as an eligibility requirement for paid studies.

For-credit studies are open to everyone!

Any student can sign up for an unpaid, for-credit study, even if the data resulting from their participation will not be used (and if so, you should be clear that their data will not be used).

Adding RAs

Research assistants need to be documented on the "Personnel" section of your IRB protocol. This requires a small revision of the protocol, which is easily done with the eProtocol system. Approval then usually comes about 1-3 days later. See the IRB guide for more information.

Assuming your RAs are documented on your protocol, if the RA already has an account on SONA you can add them by going to the study > Change Study Information and selecting the person from the menu. If they don't already have an account, contact the lab manager to create an account for them.

Running multiple studies or multiple parts

If you are running multiple studies and would like to prevent subjects from taking part in more than one, you can edit the settings of each study so that participation in one precludes subjects signing up for the others.

You can also set up a study over several days (Add New Study > Multi-Part Standard Study), with options to set the scheduling range and leniency of the sessions. Subjects will have to sign up for all the sessions at once, so you should make sure that you have enough timeslots posted for each part of the study.

Psych SONA

The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences has additional requirements outside of the IRB. See this poster for more details.

Recruiting subjects

Recruiting through SONA

If it's been cleared on your IRB protocol, you may send a message via the SONA system advertising your study (e.g. if you need to target native speakers of some language).

If you're running a paid experiment and have prescreen restrictions, then you can invite participants based on whether they meet your criteria. From your study > View/Modify Restrictions > Invite Qualified Participants, you can send an email to all qualified participants. You can choose to exclude those who have already signed up for, or participated in any studies you specify. This disqualifier list will be pre-populated based on any disqualifiers already set for the study.

Running non-UMass students

Non-UMass students earning cash compensation should request accounts by emailing the site administrator (email at bottom of SONA page). They need to include their full name and the study they're interested in participating in.

Non-UMass students enrolled in UMass ling courses which don't participate in batch enrollment should also request accounts by emailing the site administrator.

Credit compensation

Students receive one SONA credit for each half hour of participation (rounded, so that a 45-minute session is worth two credits).

Cash compensation

You must compensate participants each time they come into the lab. You may split up the compensation over a multi-part study (e.g. 25% on completion of the first session, %75 on completion of the second session).