In general, please refer to the
- Researcher(s) of a specific study via SONA for questions pertaining to a specific study, including all queries about credit granting (VP-Stunden-Gutschrift), reimbursement options, participation documentation or the task itself. You will find the contact information for the researcher(s) in the SONA study description.
- SONA Team for questions regarding your SONA account or SONA in general.
Do I have to collect signatures for my credits (VP-Stunden)?
No! If you are collecting credits (VP-Stunden) via SONA as part of your study programme in psychology, in linguistics (including computational linguistics and patholinguistics) or in sport psychology you do not need additional signatures! The credit granting in SONA is sufficient.
The additional documentation on a separate signature sheet was eliminated for psychology on 20/May/2020 (decision of the Department of Psychology Council) and for linguistics on 19/Jun/2019 (decision of the Department of Linguistics Council). For sport psychology it has never been necessary.
Please note that for credits collected outside of SONA you will still need a paper record as they can not be documented in SONA. Information about this procedure can be obtained from the secretaries' offices of your department.
I was blocked from study sign-ups! What can I do?
If someone has not shown up at three appointments (in lab studies) SONA will block the account automatically from further study sign-ups. The participant will be notified abou this with an email from SONA.
In this case contact the researcher of the study with the last unexcused no-show via SONA. Perhaps you will be able to explain why you could not participate and the researcher might excuse you. If this is not possible you can contact the SONA team and explain your situation.
Of course, there can be several reasons why you are unable to show up at an appointment. However, unexcused no-shows in lab studies cause avoidable costs (time and money). To unblock the account you have to give a justification. The unblocking might take place only after a blocking period.
Please do take appointments seriously!
Who can register in SONA?
Anyone above the age of 18 years can register in the SONA Participant Pool of the Cognitive Sciences.
Prescreen Questionnaire – What is that?
The prescreen questionnaire should be filled when you first login to SONA after registering. There are questions about your background that could be relevant for the participation in a study, such as sex, student status, native language or vision and hearing abilities.
The responses from the prescreen questionnaire can be used to restrict participation or to relate them to the results of a specific study.
Why can't I see a study that others can see?
Some studies have participation restrictions. These can refer to the age of the participant, to the responses given in the prescreen questionnaire, to the study programme or the student status or to the (non-) participation in another SONA study. SONA will only show you those studies that you are eligible for to sign up, which is why you might not have the same study offers as someone else.
What is a credit (VP-Stunde)?
Credits (VP-Stunden=Versuchspersonenstunden, lit. participant hours) are performance records that need to be collected by students of psychology and linguistics as part of their course work. One credit is the equivalent of one hour spent participating in a study. The smallest unit for a credit is currently a quarter.
The amount of the required credits is fixed in the study regulations of a specific study programme. For students of other fields than linguistics or psychology as well as for non-students the credits offer no benefit, i.e. they can not be converted to any other reimbursement.
The SONA system has a pre-defined set of study programmes with their required credits. If you are enrolled in one of them you can immediately see how many credits you have earned already and how many are still needed.
What kind of studies are offered?
The studies investigate different psychological, linguistic or sports/health-related aspects of cognition involving tasks that probe i.a. memory, reading, processing of images and sentences, attention, performance-enhancing substances and experience and performance in sports. A variety a methods are employed, amongst others EEG, eye tracking, reaction time and movement
measurements as well as (online) questionnaires.
How long does a study take?
The duration of a study varies depending on the research and the method and can range from 15 minutes up to 3 hours for an appointment. For most studies only a single appointment is necesssary but there are studies with multiple appointments. The reimbursement depends on the duration (for credits/VP-Stunden) or on the duration and the effort (in case of monetary compensation).
How can I conduct a study in SONA myself?
In order to administer studies via SONA the researcher role is needed. As a prerequiste you need to be a member of the intra-faculty unit "Cognitive Sciences" at the university of Potsdam. The following persons are eligible for a researcher role in SONA:
- Student assistants in a project
- Students who need to test participants as part of their Bachelor and Master theses in the areas of psychology, sport psychology and linguistics
- PhD students
- External guest scientists
All information for the necessary steps can be found under Information for researchers.
How can I delete my account?
You can delete your account yourself.
Caution: By deleting your account the documentation of your credits for study particpation will be lost! You should delete your account only once your credits have been officially acknowledged.
- Log in as participant on SONA
- Click on "My Profile" on the right-hand side of the menu bar
- In the right column on the next page there is a button "Delete Account" . After clicking on this you will need to confirm your decision once more before your account will be deleted completely (and irrecoverably).
How can I create a printout of my credits (VP-Stunden)?
In order to create a list of your collected credits (VP-Stunden) in SONA, proceed as follows.
- Login as a participant on SONA
- In the section "My Schedule & Credits" click on the entry "View studies I've participated in, and see if credit has been granted"
- Click on the green "Download" button at the top right to save a digitally signed PDF document with your credits.
Participating in online studies
If you would like to participate in an online study, please do so always by clicking on the link in SONA (after logging in). Only this way your study participation can be registered by the SONA system and researchers will be able to grant credits (VP-Stunden) or confirm your participation.
When you participate via a link that someone else has sent, your participation is not logged in SONA and the confirmation or credit granting will cause additional work.
Why has my participation not been documented? Why have I not been granted credit or received money?
I participated in a study but this is not yet documented in SONA and I have not been granted any credits or received any money.
For all questions regarding study participation, the granting of credits (VP-Stunden) or the payment of reimbursements please contact the researcher of the respective study (or your appointment).
Documentation in SONA should be done as quickly as possible, but please allow the researchers some time to do this. In the case of online studies, the data first need to be exported and then assigned to the SONA IDs. Our recommendation is that this is done once a week. This means that if your study participation (lab or online) has not yet been properly documented in SONA within a week after your appointment/participation, contact the researcher(s) of the study.
Due to bureaucratic constraints (forms have to be filled out and signed by several authorized signatories in different departments), the payment of monetary rewards may take even longer.
I collect credits but do not study at the University of Potsdam. How can I obtain a confirmation of participation?
Students from other institutions can participate in studies on our SONA platform for credits (VP-Stunden), for example from the MHB (Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane).
If you need a written confirmation of participation, adhere to the following procedure:
- Participation and granting of credits will be done as usual in SONA. Please do not ask the researchers of a study to issue a written confirmation. This will be done by the SONA Team.
- After you have collected all of your credits (VP-Stunden), contact the SONA Team and ask for a participation confirmation. This will be issued once for all of your credits/studies (which are separately listed).
- Provide the following information to the SONA Team when requesting the confirmation:
- SONA ID
- Registration number of your home institution (Matrikel-Nummer)
- Postal address
Can I continue to participate in online studies even though I have reached my credit (VP-Stunden) limit for online studies?
Yes, that is possible!
On the one hand, this allows you to support research even if you no longer need credits (VP-Stunden). On the other hand, you are thus able to participate in paid online studies that offer both options of remuneration (money or credits) and are therefore created in SONA as credit studies.
To do this, you need to add another course to your profile in SONA, we recommend "Anderer Studiengang".
After logging in, click on "My Profile" in the menu bar at the top right (Screenshot 1). Then you will see in the right column the study programme (course) for which you have collected credits so far.
Click on the button "Change Courses" and type an "A" after the existing course in the input field (Screenshot 2). A drop-down menu will appear in which you can select "Anderer Studiengang". This will then be added to your profile after clicking on "Save Changes".
Next time when you sign up for a credit study, you can decide for which course you would like to earn credits (Screenshot 3). If you have already reached your online credit limit for a course, it will no longer appear as an option. Since the course "Anderer Studiengang" does not have any limit, you can sign up for any study with this course.