There are generally two different types of faculty involved with SONA: (1) 'Instructors' who either require research participation by their students or offer extra credit for participation and (2) 'Researchers' who are posting studies and seeking student participation. There are links on the left menu bar for each category of faculty. Note that faculty are strongly encouraged to read the information presented on each of the three student links, including the FAQs.
Thank you for your willingness to work with our requirement of having students participate in the research process. Your help in allowing your students to be a part of the UHCL College of Business Research Participation System gives students a chance to engage in the research process and for faculty to collect primary data for research and publication.
Courses That Require Participation
For required courses, we have provided a standard description that should be incorporated into your Course Syllabus at the start of the semester explaining the SONA Research Participation System and directing students to the UHCL information and support page:
This course is a SONA designated course. The College of Business at UHCL requires that all students in SONA designated courses earn two research credits through their participation in the BUS Research Participation System (RPS). Note that if you do not complete your SONA required credits, your semester course grade will be negatively impacted. Additional classes may require participation or allow participation for extra credit, depending upon the instructor. This program is designed to enhance students’ understanding of and appreciation for the nature and methods of empirical research as conducted within the business disciplines. Although new studies will be posted throughout the semester, you should complete your required credits as early in the semester as possible. The final day for participation is the Wednesday prior to the beginning of online exams for the regular semester.
Shortly after the beginning of the semester, your SONA User ID (which will be your UHCL email address) and initial Password will be sent to your UHCL email address. You can then go to the SONA web site at https://uhcl-bus.sona-systems.com, enter your information and click the Log In button. You will then be logged in to the UHCL College of Business Research Participation Systems web site. If for some reason you do not receive your SONA log-in information or you forget your password, simply sign in using your UHCL email address and request an account or indicate that you have forgotten your password.
An email will be sent after the census date to each student who is in a class that requires participation. This email will contain a username and password for accessing https://UHCL-BUS.sona-systems.com
Students in these SONA designated courses are required to complete 2 credits of research participant studies per SONA designated course each long semester. This means that id a student is enrolled in two SONA designated classes in a single semester, s/he will be required to complete four SONA credits total. We expect that there will be a sufficient number of studies available for students to fulfill their research requirements each long semester. However, there are alternative assignments available for students who cannot participate or do not wish to participate in primary research. Please refer to the FAQs.
If students fail to show up for three or more studies that they signed up for in a given semester, that student will lose the privilege of participating in the RPS and will need to earn his or her credits through alternative methods.
Please make a point to talk to your students about the importance of not discussing the research they participate in with other students. As we all know (but the students don’t), prior knowledge of the experiment/study will likely change the way participants respond so we want to do as much as possible to eliminate this happening. The first time a student is discovered actively sharing information about studies he or she has participated in, that student will receive a warning. The second time this occurs, the student will lose the privilege of participating in the participant pool and will need to earn his or her credits through alternative methods.
By the Wednesday prior to the beginning of online final exams for the regular semester, the students should have completed 2 credits for each SONA designated course. Faculty teaching in all SONA designated courses will receive a report from the UHCL College of Business RPS Administrator, Dr. L. Jean Walker, indicating the number of research credits earned by each student in the class. For the courses that have the participation requirement, students who do not complete the research requirements should have their course grade decreased. A standard penalty would be one-third of a letter grade for each credit they did not complete after final grades have been calculated. For example if a person participated in 1 hour, they will be dropped one-third of a grade (e.g., A- to B+). If a person is missing both credits, the person will be dropped two thirds of a letter grade (e.g., A- to B). If you have not already warned the student of this penalty, please do so in a written format. This is also explained to students on the FAQ sheet available on the UHCL College of Business website where you found this page.
Signing Up For Studies
Students are required to sign up for studies online at https://UHCL-BUS.sona-systems.com. Sign-ups for each study will be available throughout the semester. Students should participate throughout the semester, as there is no guarantee that enough studies will always be available at the end of the semester to complete their requirement (although there is an alternative research assignment that they can do). The last day for students to participate will be the Wednesday prior to the beginning of online exams for each regular semester.
If there is a question from a student, you or your student can email UHCL College of Business RPS Support at BusResearchPool@uhcl.edu.
Courses That Offer Extra Credit
In any given semester, some faculty may want to provide extra credit to students for participating in studies. If you would like for your students to be able to do this, please send an email with your name and course information. With this information, we can make sure your class is listed as one that has student participants and that your students can access the system. Your students will need to request an account through the SONA system (see Extra Credit instructions for students).
To use the BUS Research Participation System, your research must fall into one of the following categories:
- Business faculty research
- Business Master’s Thesis project (faculty advisor needed)
- Business student independent research project (faculty advisor needed)
- Other faculty research as approved by the participant pool administrator
To have your research study posted and/or activated on the BUS Research Participation System website, you must first forward your CPHS approval to the SONA system administrator (Walker@uhcl.edu). In the email, be sure to include the following:
- The principal investigator (often the faculty member or the faculty advisor)
- The name, UHCL email address, alternative/preferred email address, and phone number (for participants to call for cancellations) of the primary researcher(s); sometimes this may be a student, sometimes this may be the same as the principal investigator, but we need both.
- The type of study (e.g., Online Survey, In-Person Experiment)
**If your study is an online survey administered via a third party website (e.g., Survey Monkey) you must also include the URL participants will need to use to access your survey. It is possible to create an online survey through the SONA site. If you choose to do so, you must specify that your survey will be administered by SONA and you will need to create that survey after your study has been approved.
- How long it will take a participant to complete your study.
The amount of credit for participation: One credit is equivalent to one hour of research participation. Credits may be awarded in ½ hour increments, or a minimum of one-half of a credit for research participation. Time requirements will be rounded up to the nearest half hour. For example, if the study takes 10 minutes, that would be rounded to half-an-hour. You will be asked to designate in advance the credit to be awarded for the research participation.
- The name of the study. This will be the name displayed to participants.
Participation in the RPS requires that the research be approved by OSP (by completing and submitting the CPHS application on the UHCL Office of Sponsored Programs web page) and by the SONA Administrator.
Participation requests should be for a single long semester only and should not carry over to multiple semesters. Participation in subsequent semesters requires a new RPS request (but not necessarily new OSP approval, depending on the OSP approval expiration date). All requests should be submitted no later than two weeks prior to the beginning of the semester. Researchers will need to contact the SONA Administrator to activate their studies. Researchers are responsible for scheduling the facilities in which face-to-face research will be conducted. Researchers who need to cancel their scheduled studies should immediately contact the SONA Administrator. If a scheduled face-to-face study is canceled by the researcher with less than 24 hours’ notice, students will automatically be given the credit associated with the canceled session.
Study Approval And Log-In Information
When you are approved, an email will be sent to each researcher containing a username and password for accessing http://UHCL-BUS.sona-systems.com. (In most cases, UHCL faculty will have been provided with a user name and initial password at the inception of SONA in fall 2015.) Any faculty member not having a Researcher account should request one from the SONA Administrator.Important: When you go to the front page of the site (the login page), you may see a link to request an account. This form is only for participants (e.g. students). Do not use this form to request an account, as participant accounts have an entirely different set of privileges, and the privileges are not appropriate for a Researcher.
Once you log in, you may be asked to review and acknowledge your organization’s human subject policy. If required by the Administrator, you will need to acknowledge this once every 6 months. You will see the Main Menu after you acknowledge the policy.
If you would like to change your password or other information about yourself, choose My Profile from the top toolbar.
After the initial login, researchers will be able to view, add, and modify studies; view, add, and modify the timeslots for studies; grant or deny participation credit, view other studies available to participants; provide pretests for their study; view pretest results; and modify the Researchers’ profile.
Adding A Study
To add a study, choose the Add New Study option from the top toolbar. You will need to pick from four possible types of studies. You will then see a form asking for more information, such as ‘Study Name,’ ‘Brief Abstract’ and ‘Detailed Description.’
Make sure to double check that all of your study’s settings are correct. Once you have filled out the appropriate information, save it and the system will be updated immediately with the information. Your next step is likely to add timeslots.
Timeslots must include the time, date, location of the study, and the number of participants acceptable per session. For online surveys, the date and time of a timeslot is the deadline for participants to sign up and complete the survey.
You may update any of your studies at any time. To do so, choose My Studies from the top toolbar and then click the name of the study.
Researchers are strongly encouraged to offer a variety of face-to-face sessions that are convenient for the students enrolled in day and night classes throughout the week.
On Site Study Sessions
At each study session, please have an attendance sheet that records the students’ name, class that they want credit in, and how many hours the experiment is worth (e.g. 30 min, 1 hour, 90 min, 2 hours) in case something occurs with the website. Also note on this sheet if a student did not attend. If a participant does not show up to a session, give them 24 hours to call and reschedule. After this time, if you have not heard from them, BE SURE TO mark them as ‘Unexcused No-Show’. All researchers need to respond the same to these circumstances so it will be fair to all.
When you debrief the participants, tell them that you will post their credit online as proof of their participation. This will be the only way for them to get credit for participation. Professors will be notified of their participation through the website.
You may decide not to give a person credit if:
- The student arrives late (and then you do not let the student participate in the study).
- The study is a multi-session study, and the participant does not attend all of the sessions (although students should receive partial credit for the portions that they do attend).
- The student has already participated in the study.
You have to give a person credit even if:
- You are not able to run your study (i.e., the copier broke and you were unable to copy the survey to give out) and the participant attends.
- The experiment took less time than indicated.
End Of Study Availability
The BUS Research Participation System will close on the Wednesday prior to the beginning
of online exams for the regular semester. All studies for credit must be completed
by then, so that the SONA Administrator can generate class rosters with participation
credit reports for SONA course instructors.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact: UHCL College of Business Research Participation System Support: BUSResearchPool@uhcl.edu. or UHCL College of Business Research Participation System Administrator: Dr. L. Jean Walker, Walker@uhcl.edu.