Participation for psychology researchers, Psychology, Macquarie University

Participation for psychology researchers, Psychology, Macquarie University

Recruit research participants

Advertising to PSY104, PSY105, PSY246 participants and the paid pool

The information below is a quick start guide and covers some frequently asked questions. For a comprehensive guide (1.6MB pdf).

Please note that the participant pool website records will be renewed each year at about the beginning of February. Any information entered before then is superseded (i.e., don't request participants - i.e., go beyond step 1 below - before February).

Step 1 and 2 are independant, you do not need one before the other.

  1. Obtain ethics approval for your study. No allocations for participants is given until ethics approval has been granted (i.e., to activate your study in the participant pool, you will need your ethics clearance number).
  2. Request a Researcher Account. Email psy_pool.admin@mq.edu.au with the subject 'Participant Pool Researcher Account' and containing:
    1. Name
    2. Email Address
    3. Student/ Staff no.
    4. Student type (eg. honours, phd)
    5. Supervisor
    6. Pool you wish to recruit from (PSY104(sem 1), PSY105(sem 2), PSY246*, Paid).
    You will receive an email with your login details for the Participant Pool site. Once you login you will be able to change your password.*The Psy246 pool is available for short experiments (1 hr or less) in Cognition approved by the PSY246 convenor. These experiments should be relevant to the content of the course, Psy246, Cognitive Processes I. Only PhD students, post-docs and academic staff and their RAs are eligible to use the pool. Researchers are asked to provide a half page description of the area of research plus a couple of accessible references. These are to be sent to the PSY246 convenor for approval and given to students after participation in the study.
  3. Once you log in as a Researcher, you will Create a study for each set of experiments for which you request participants. You will be asked to provide the following information for each project:
    1. study title
    2. ethics clearance number
    3. credit per participant.
    4. Title
    5. Abstract (this must include any participant restrictions)
    6. experiment description (just one paragraph describing what the participant will be required to do)
    7. Eligibility (you must put the course eg. PSY104, PSY246 here)
    8. Course Restrictions under 'Advanced Settings', 'Course Restrictions' you must select the course that you are recruiting from (PSY104, PSY105, PSY246, PAID). If you do not, the approval for your project will be delayed.

      • Titles of projects currently available to participants will be visible to participants, and participants can view project details (including the experiment description) by clicking on the project title. Thus, if you have any participant selection restrictions (e.g., females only), it should be obvious in the title (e.g., "Rapid word reading (native English speakers only)".
      • Give some thought to the project duration (= research credit). You should allow enough time for signing consent forms, giving instructions, and debriefing over and above the actual time taken by the experiment. Do some pilot testing and allow for the slow participants.
  • Click on 'Add this Study' at the bottom of the page. You will see a summary of your submission. Once you have reviewed this click '[Send a Request]. Your study will be forwarded automatically to the participant pool co-ordinator. If everything is in order, your project will be approved within 24 hours and you will receive an email informing you of this. If not (e.g., the requested participant hours exceed the limit), you will receive an email saying what further information you need to provide. Until an approval is granted, the project will not be available for participant signup.
  • Participants can only sign up for the study once Timeslots are created. Participants will be able to sign up and cancel their timeslots until 24 hours before the timeslot. The researcher will receive an email when participants sign up or cancel. They will also recieve a timeslot summary on the day before any booked timeslots.
  • Participants get credited automatically with participation (research credit) when their booked Timeslot has passed. If they don't turn up to the session, it is the experimenter's responsibility to take away the participant's record otherwise the participant will get credited spuriously (and also count towards the allocated participant hours for the experimenter). Experimenter should do this soon AFTER the session has passed (prior to the session date, the button will say Delete instead of No show. Experimenters should only use the Delete button under limited circumstances - e.g., it is clear that the participant does not meet the selection criteria. To avoid unwanted participants signing up, you should ensure that the selection criteria are clear to participants i.e., in the project title and description.).
  • Your project will become invisible to participants if there are no more timeslots available in the future or once the allocated number of participants have signed up (i.e., you cannot recruit more participants than the number you have been given approval for). In other words, the project will be closed automatically once the number of participants signed up reaches the requested number of participants. You can reduce the number of total participants required using "Edit project"; increasing the number of participants require approval by the participant co-ordinator (when you increase the total number of participants, an email request will be automatically forwarded).
  • Keep a separate record of the participants' name and student ID and the session date and time. This may be needed if discrepancy arises between the participant's claimed record and details recorded on the participant pool website.
  • Participants who fail to turn up to their timeslot and who don't cancel will receive a credit penalty of 50% of the credit for the study. This is automated by the system once you register that they didn't participate. You can manually cancel participants timeslots within the 24 hour cutoff if they contact you with a resonable reason. They will not receive a penatly in this case. You may not cancel a timeslot within the 24 hour cutoff without the participants agreement.

Availability of participants and Hours

In sone years requests by researchers for experimental participant hours have exceeded the available hours with the result that researchers who attempted to collect data towards the end of semester have been unable to access first year participants. In an attempt to overcome this problem the following procedures have been set up:

  1. Normally, no more than 50 participant hours will be allocated to a researcher each semester. For honours students, the limit is 50 subject hours per year. (e.g., 100 participants x 30 minutes per session = 50 subject hours). If you wish to exceed this limit you must seek approval in writing from the 4th Year Committee, with support from your supervisor. Once approved the Participant Pool Administrator will allocate the additional credit dependent on the current availability. Alternatively, if your supervisor is prepared to allocate you some of their research credit, The Participant Pool coordinator must receive an email from the supervisor authorizing this.
  2. Where possible, researchers are encouraged to use sources other than first year students (or to wait until second semester to access participants). In general, approval will be given only to researchers who are students or staff of Macquarie University Department of Psychology.
  3. Where possible, researchers are encouraged to combine data collection sessions. For example, 3 different researchers who each have a 10 minute survey form could combine the forms and give 30 minutes credit time (rather than 3 lots of 15 minutes credit if done separately). This is in researchers' interest, because students prefer to attend on fewer occasions with more credit time on each occasion and researchers can take turns in supervising the testing sessions. When you are planning your testing, ask your supervisor to email the Psychology staff to identify other researchers who could combine testing sessions with you.
  4. The paid participant pool will also be available for those researchers with available funds (not available to honours student researchers). The idea is that participants will be paid on the pro rata basis at $10 per hour. This will be available ONLY TO THE FIRST YEAR participants WHO HAVE COMPLETED THEIR 4 HOURS FREE, OR OTHER STUDENTS. You can recruit paid participants via the participant pool. See also the section below for other information about paid participants.
  5. Part Time Students. Around 20% of students in PSY104 and PSY105 are part-timers who can only attend campus in late afternoons and evenings. In order to accommodate these students, research participation submissions must include a timetable of testing hours that shows a reasonable availability of times after 4-6+ pm.

Credit Times

Time credits are in 15 minute units. That is, for a 10 minute experiment the credit is 15 minutes, for 25 minutes the credit is 30 minutes, etc. It is rare to give more than one hour's credit at a time. Under no circumstances should students be offered extra time as an incentive (e.g., one hour's credit for 20 minutes participation).

If a study involves students bringing in family members, the student receives credit time for their participation time but no extra credit is given for family members.

All research must be completed on campus. Questionnaires must not be given out to complete at home.

Credit for PSY104/ PSY105

1 credit = 30 minutes, 2 credit = 1 hour

Participants are expected to complete up to a maximum of 8 credits (4 hours).

Credit for PSY246

1 credit = 30 minutes, 2 credit = 1 hour

Participants are expected to complete 6 credits (3 hours).

Feedback and Research Report

Participating in research is intended to be an educational experience for first year students. Please provide as much feedback as possible at the end of the testing session.

Allocation of research hours is contingent on the researcher agreeing to provide a short summary of the aims and findings to be displayed on the First Year notice board at the conclusion of the study. Sample poster. If you are creating a presentation poster there are some guidelines and examples available.
The summary should:

  • be no more than 2 A4 pages
  • state the aims and results
  • use language appropriate for first year students
  • be well-presented, with graphs (where appropriate) and 16 point font or larger.

Honours students must submit a copy of this summary within one week of submitting their thesis.

Conducting the Research

  1. If because of some emergency you cannot keep appointments with participants, the experimenter should contact the participants personally to inform them the session is cancelled BEFORE the session (use the email/mobile phone detail provided in the signup record). Experimenters are discouraged from canceling a session once a participant has signed up to the session. Depending on the circumstances, participants may be entitled to keep the research credit if the session was cancelled by the experimenter after they signed up.
  2. If a student arrives too late to complete the testing procedure in the remaining time or so late that they would disrupt group testing, you have the right to exclude them and give no time credit. Make sure the student knows that you are taking away their research credit. If you feel that the student should not receive a penatly due to circumstances, contact the Pool Coordinator to arrange a penalty free cancellation.

Paid participant Pool (not available to honours students)

  1. In order to increase the number of available participant hours, staff and postgraduate researchers are asked to consider paying their participants, especially if they are using more than 50 participant hours per semester. Staff are asked to pay for participants out of their research grants; postgraduate students are asked to apply for Departmental funding (Postgraduate research fund, closing dates are in March and end of August, limit $500 per year). The participant pay rate is $10 per hour (or $5 per half hour).
  2. The paid participant pool is to be used only for PSY104/105 participants who have completed their 4 hours research credit, or population other than the PSY104/105 students. participants sign up either for credit or for payment; only those signed up for credit will receive research credit.
  3. The process for participant payment is as follows (you should check with the Department finance officer for up-to-date information).
    • You pay the participant (CASH ONLY) at the completion of the participant's participation in your experiment (rate $10 per hour; $5 per half hour).
    • Get the participant to record their name, address and signature on a record sheet.
    • When the record sheet is complete (i.e., when you have run the designated number of participants), submit the list to the Departmental finance officer along with the reimbursement request form indicating the account from which the money is being drawn to get reimbursed.
    • In order to avoid paperwork involving PAYE tax, keep the payment per student to $50.
  4. All researchers (staff, postgraduate students, honours students) are entitled to their first 100 (50 for honours students) participant hours free.
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