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Research Participation in Psychology

Overview (IMPORTANT)

Students enrolled in PSYC 100, 102 and 201 earn 6% of their course credits based on their involvement in psychological research. These credits may be obtained by any combination of the following activities:
  • Volunteer for participation in research projects in the Department of Psychology.
  • Volunteer for participation in research projects, but have your results excluded from the study.
  • Request that researchers walk you through their research projects.
  • Write one or more 2-page summaries of research articles.
To participate in research projects, you must make a reservation for an available time-slot on the Psychology Department's Research Participation System (RPS). To do so, go to https://www.psyc.sfu.ca/rps/part/part_login.htm and log-in using your Campus Network Account ID and password. Procedures to assist you with the research participation process and instructions on making reservations and (if necessary) cancelling reservations have been included below.

Objectives

As a psychology student at SFU, you are learning about the Science of Psychology--the scientific investigation of human behaviour and thought. The majority of findings that you learn about in your studies are based upon research conducted with human participants. Six percent (6%) of your grade is based on your participation in psychological research projects currently being conducted at Simon Fraser University. You have several options as to how you can participate in this research. You may also choose not to participate, however, your participation is important for two reasons. First, direct participation in research allows you to increase your understanding of both the content of psychology investigations and the methodologies used by researchers. Second, your participation is helpful to the researchers in the Psychology Department because it allows them to pursue research questions that are of interest to the entire psychological research community.

To obtain 6% credit for research participation, you are required to take part in research for a period of 3 hours total. Studies vary in length: a 1/2-hour study earns 1% credit, a 1-hour study earns 2% credit, a 1.5-hour study earns 3% credit, and a 2-hour study earns 4% credit. No studies over 2 hours are permitted. You must participate in a minimum of 2 studies to earn your 6% credit.

Ethics

Prior to a research project's acceptance into the RPS, projects have been given approval by the University Research Ethics Board (policy R 20.01). The ethics committee evaluates each project and assesses whether it possesses any features that may lead to the physical or psychological harm of participants. If a study is deemed to possess these properties, it is not approved by the committee and, therefore, can not be posted on the RPS. Instructors have no connection with research project approval and a student may not receive participation credit for studies not registered on the RPS.

Your Participation (IMPORTANT)

To sign-up for participation, first you need your SFU Computer Account. There are a number of public-access computer labs available on campus that you can use to activate your account. Sign-up is completed via a web browser on a computer that is connected to the internet.

Once you have completed your participation, you are given a receipt indicating the credits you earned in each research project--keep this receipt! Note that you must complete your participation by the last day of classes, therefore you must make your participation reservations at least three to four days prior to the last day of classes. Moreover, we recommend that you complete your participation well before the last week of classes, as often many researchers have completed their research and do not require more participants.

After participating in a study, you need to log-in to the RPS system and provide a brief description of the study (a short paragraph). For each study, the researcher provides you with information about the goals of the research project, so your paragraph verifies whether you have an understanding of the study in which you took part. In addition to describing the research, you are asked to answer a couple of other questions concerning your evaluation of the study (for example, the quality of the debriefing). In combination, these questions provide us with valuable information concerning your research experience.

Other Options

Occasionally there are students who, for various reasons, prefer not to participate in research projects. There are three options available to students in which credit is granted.
  • If you would like to run through the experiment, but feel uncomfortable about your results being used, you may request that the data collected from your participation not be used in analysis.
  • If you prefer not to run through the experiment, but are still interested in learning about the research, you may request that the researcher walk you through the experiment. In this case, the researcher explains the purpose and the methodology of the experiment to you.
  • If you prefer not to take part at all, you are required to write a 2-page summary of a research article for each 2% credit. To obtain the 6% credit, a student provides three (3) 2-page summaries. These summaries are due at 12-noon on the last day of classes for the term and are handed in directly to the research participation coordinator (Undergraduate Program Assistant via email or 778-782-4091)--please do not hand these in to the course professor. There are several articles from which to choose. A student who chooses this option must contact the Research Participation Coordinator prior to the deadline for a handout that provides more information on the summary articles (see contact information above).

Missed Appointments (IMPORTANT)

Missing your appointment for research participation wastes valuable time. After committing to an appointment, if you discover you cannot make that appointment, contact the researcher as soon as possible. Appointments can be cancelled up to 24 hours before the appointment time on the RPS--without penalty. Also, missing an appointment because of illness or other compassionate reasons will not be penalized. Contact the researcher with whom you made the appointment as soon as possible, explain the nature of the emergency, and provide a physician's certificate or other supporting doucments. Appointments missed without provision of a valid reason are penalized at the same value that participation would have earned credit (i.e., 1% for a 1/2 hour study, 2% for a 1-hour study, 3% for a 1.5-hour study, and 4% for a 2-hour study). Lost credit can be earned back by participating in additional (extra) research projects.


Using the On-Line Research Participation System

Logging-on

To log-on to the RPS:
  1. Go to the Research Participation log-on page at:
    https://www.psyc.sfu.ca/rps/part/part_login.htm
  2. Enter your SFU Computer Account name (SFU ID), password, student number, and click "Logon".
    Your participation homepage will be displayed showing your name, the courses you are enrolled in that give credit for research participation, any reservations you have booked for the future, and the participation credits you have earned to date.

Making a reservation

To make a reservation for research participation:
  1. Log-on to the RPS as described above.
  2. Click the "Make Reservation" button at the top of your participation home page.
    A list of all available vacancies is displayed, including the date, time, duration, credit value, and any criteria that you must meet to be eligible for participation.
    [If there are no vacancies, try again at a later date, because vacancies become available whenever new research projects begin.]
  3. Click a "Reserve" button beside an entry where the date and time are convenient for you and, if any restrictions are listed, where you meet those restrictions.
  4. Read the information presented about the research project and follow any instructions on that page.
  5. Click the "Confirm" button and a summary of your reservation will be displayed.
    [You may want to print this page out for your records, however, you can log in at any time to check the reservations you have made.]

Cancelling a research participation reservation

  1. Log-on to the RPS as described above.
  2. Under the heading "Reservations", click on the research participation record you wish to cancel.
  3. Click the checkbox labelled "I confirm I wish to cancel this reservation."
  4. Click the "Cancel" button at the top of the page.

If you find there are no studies available on the system

The system is updated regularly. It takes a few days for the system to start up at the beginning of term, so please be patient. If you find that there are no studies/vacancies posted after the first full week of classes, check back regularly and you will find that new studies become available. Researchers start their studies at different times and, therefore, the availability of vacancies changes throughout the term. Availability of vacancies is highest well prior to the last couple of weeks of the term, so completing your rps requirement earlier rather than later is highly recommended. Note that if you try a few times and are unable to find a vacancy, please contact the research participation coordinator (Undergraduate Program Assistant via email or 778-782-4091)--please do not contact your course professor with vacancy issues.

If you have just enrolled in a class

If you are unsuccessful in logging-on to the RPS, your name may not be in the system yet. So check back in a couple of days as the database is updated regularly. If, continually, you are unable to log into the RPS, contact Undergraduate Program Assistant at 778-782-4091.

If you drop a class

If you have made a reservation for participation and then drop your class, you may still participate in the research project if you desire. However, if you do not wish to participate in the research project, please contact the researchers and let them know! Alternatively, you can cancel your reservation by contacting the Undergraduate Program Assistant at 778-782-4091.

Questions regarding participation credit

If you have any questions about the research participation credit or about specific studies, please call the Undergraduate Program Assistant (778-782-4091). Note. It may take a few days before the credits earned for participating in a study appear on the RPS.
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