What the Principal Investigator Needs to Do To Recruit Participants

Anyone wishing to recruit human participants within the psychology department should begin by contacting the subject pool administrator (Currently Dr. Robert Ryan). It is assumed that if the project requires IRB approval, then this has already been obtained. The subject pool administrator only facilitates the recruiting of participants and the providing of credit slips and accounting for them, not the approval of the use of human subjects.

The subject pool administrator will add you to the system as a Principal Investigator. If you will run the subjects yourself, then you will also be added as a Researcher. If you will have any students running subjects for you, then you will have to provide their names so that they can be added as Researchers as well.

The Principal Investigator and the Researchers will receive an email telling them their User ID and Password. With this information you can then log onto the subject pool system at http://kutztown.sona-systems.com. The first thing you should do when you log on is go to your profile and change your password.

You will then be able to follow the instructions in the system to set up your study, set up sign up sheets, recruit participants, and give the credits.

You should also read the information given to students about how to participate.

You will definitely need to know the following:


With the new, web based sign up system, there are no more paper credit slips. As a Researcher, it is your responsibility to assign the credit to the subjects who actually participated. YOU WILL NOT SEE THE SUBJECTS' NAMES WHEN YOU ASSIGN CREDIT. YOU WILL ONLY SEE THE ID CODES THEY WERE GIVEN WHEN THEY SIGNED UP. To make sure there is no problem with credit, you should do the following:

  1. Before you start, GET THE SUBJECTS' ID CODES FROM THEM. If a subject forgets their ID code, get their name. Then contact the subject pool administrator about the problem.
  2. Immediately after the study is finished, go to the web based sign up sheet and assign the credits (If you delay, subjects may check and find no credit before you assign it).
  3. The subjects will be able to check on the web to see that they have received credit. If they only have one course in their profile, then the credit will automatically go to that course. If they have more than one course in their profile, it is up to them to check to see which course received the credit and change it if necessary.

Special considerations for student researchers

Any student who wishes to recruit human participants in the psychology department must be working under the direction of their professor or other qualified researcher. This ensures that all of the ethical requirements for conducting research on human participants are being met.

In addition student researchers should be aware of the following when writing their debriefing sheet.

Different professors may make different requirements on their students to receive credit for participating. But as an example, Dr. Ryan requires a short (about one page) report describing the study. Dr. Ryan's students receive instructions to state the research question or hypothesis, explain what the subjects actually did, and describe the logic of the study. The instructions say that if there was more than one group of subjects, they are to describe what each group did. Therefore, the debriefing you give them needs to explain the method for all the subjects, not just the condition in which they participated.

Debriefing sheet

The debriefing sheet should provide enough information so that the participant can understand the study well enough to write a report describing it. It should clearly state:

  1. The hypothesis.
  2. The method.
  3. The logic.