Frequently Asked Questions

The College of Business Research Participation System is designed to enhance students’ understanding of, and appreciation for, the nature and methods of empirical research as conducted within the College of Business disciplines.

Which classes require the Research Participation System?
Various courses across the College of Business disciplines require participation in the College of Business Research Participation System. Courses that have a research requirement will indicate as such on their course syllabus. Additional classes may allow participation for extra credit, depending on the instructor.
What does “participation” entail?
Students in SONA designated courses are required to complete 2 credits of research participant studies per course in the College of Business Research Participation System.
What if I’m enrolled in more than one class in the same semester that requires research participation?
Normally, you will not be in more than one class with this requirement. However, if by some chance you are, you must complete 2 credits worth of participation for each class. If you are enrolled in three or more SONA designated courses, you may request a waiver for credits exceeding four from the SONA Administrator ( However, granting of credit waiver will ultimately be up to the faculty reaching the SONA courses.
How do I participate in research studies?
Students must sign up online for available studies. Students should go to and log into the system. Students logging in for the first time should log in using the User ID and password that is emailed to their UHCL email account. Once logged into the system, the student can edit a range of personal settings (password, email, etc.) by clicking on the My Profile icon. To view available studies, select on the Study Sign-Up icon. A list of studies for each day will appear. Online studies will provide a link to the study. More details regarding participation
What if I can’t make it to a face-to-face study that I already signed up for?
When you sign-up for a study, you should write down the date, time, and place of the study. Students are responsible for canceling participation if they cannot attend a study before the study actually begins (often 24 hours’ notice). If you have to cancel, click My Schedule/Credits at the top of the screen. A list of your studies will appear and you then have the option of canceling. Please note that each study has its own specific cancellation policy and requirements. Please cancel as soon as you know that you will not be able to make the appointment so that other students could fill the open slot. If a student fails to cancel three or more studies in a given semester, that student will lose the privilege of participating in the participant system and will need to earn his or her credits through alternative methods.
When can I start participating in the studies?
Research studies may become available any time after the semester begins. It is in the student’s best interest to participate in research studies throughout the semester rather than waiting to complete all of the research requirements at the end of the semester. There is no guarantee that there will be enough research studies offered at the end of the semester to complete all research participation credits.

The final day for participation is the Wednesday prior to the beginning of online exams for the regular semester. Note that there is no guarantee that studies will actually be offered this late in the semester. It is in the students’ best interest to check the participant system website every week.
What happens after I participate?
After participating, the researcher of the study will award you credit through the participant pool. You can log into your account to see that you have been awarded credit. Credits are not necessarily granted automatically, even for online studies. If credit is not awarded within five working days, you can email the listed Researcher.
If there is only one experiment being offered for a couple of weeks, can I just sign up for that one experiment more than once?
Unless directly stated otherwise, you cannot participate in the same study more than once. Also, you cannot receive credit for the same study in more than one class.
What if I don’t want to do the research?
If you, for ethical or personal reasons, decide to not participate in the data collection process, you can instead read empirical research College of Business articles on a topic determined and/or approved by your instructor. You will be asked to write and submit a brief (about 2 pages, excluding references) report based on what you have read. Unless otherwise instructed by the professor, your two-page paper should (1) include the objectives, methodology, summary of research results, and managerial implications of the research and (2) relate the research results/implications to the student’s own life or to a company not discussed in the article.

For each two-page research paper that you write, you will receive 1 credit. For example, if you are required to complete 2 credits and have completed one credit of research studies but cannot participate in any further research, you would need to read and write one two-page report to fulfill your 2 credits of research requirements. If you opt to not do any of the research studies, you must write two 2-page reports. You should expect to spend at least one hour reading and writing your report, but in many cases and depending on the student it may take longer. The last day to submit a reading assignment will be the last day of classes.

After submitting your report to your professor, he/she will record your credit earned; however, if you would like the credit to be posted to your SONA System account, please have your professor send a brief confirmation that the alternative assignment has been met via email to the SONA Administrator at
What happens if I don’t do the research or the paper requirements?
Students who do not complete the research requirements (or the alternative options) will be penalized. The standard penalty is one-third of a letter grade for each credit they did not complete after final grades have been calculated. For example if a person only participated in 1 hour, they will be dropped one-third of a grade (e.g., A- to B+). If a person is missing both hours, the person will be dropped two-thirds of a letter grade (e.g., A- to B).
Is it a problem if I talk to other students about the research studies I participated in?
As you will learn in your methods and research classes, if someone has prior knowledge of the study, this will likely change the way that participant responds. Thus, it is very important that you not discuss studies you have participated in with other students.

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.


  • College of Business
    Research Participation

    Phone: 281-283-3194