Protocol Preparation and Accessing the PSY 120 Subject Pool

Instructions for Protocol Preparation:

  1. Prepare and submit all new protocols using the cloud-based system Cayuse. Investigators may directly access Cayuse IRB for protocol submission here.
  2. If you are using PSY 120 participants, you must include an educational debriefing document. Instructions for preparing this document are described later in this page.
  3. If you are using PSY 120 participants, you must include a statement at the end of the section “Will information about me and my participation be kept confidential?” stating “EXCEPTION:  If you are under 18 years your data will be destroyed and will not be used for research because we do not have parental consent for your participation. Thank you, however, for participating in the research as a learning experience.”
  4. The SONA Description, Consent, and Debrief must adhere to the following: 

Instructions for Posting a Study on SONA:  

  1. If you are using PSY 120 participants, when your protocol has been approved by the IRB, you must request a Sona Systems number from the Schedule Deputy (Laurie Hitze, Please include the study name and IRB # when requesting the number.
  2. After receiving a number, you must submit the following materials to the SONA Coordinator (Darryl Schneider,
    1.  A copy of the "Request to Use the PSY 120 Research Participant Pool" (form is attached here).
    2. The study description you plan to use on the SONA website.
    3. A copy of the informed consent document that includes the IRB approved protocol number and the SONA study number(s) and title.
    4. The debriefing document (or debriefing script and reference document) for your study that includes the SONA study number(s) and title.
    5. A copy of the approved IRB protocol for your study.


This description is what you plan to post to the Sona Systems program to describe to potential participants what they can expect to experience in your experiment. If you wish to add a more detailed description, you may refer students to your own electronic file. It is suggested that the wording used within the description space be similar to, e.g., “Copy the following URL into your web browser for a more detailed description.” When submitting your description for approval, it must clearly indicate:

  1. The title and the Sona Systems number, as assigned by the Experiment Coordinator;
  2. The experiment credit to be earned by the subject's participation in each session and the total amount of experiment credits possible if participation in more than one session is requested;
  3. A brief but adequate description of your experiment, written in such a manner so as to be easily understood by any elementary psychology student. Avoid commands such as "You will remember text." Use instead, "You will be asked to remember text." You must provide an adequate description of your procedure; in most cases, a single sentence or two will not suffice.
  4. A space is also provided to list any restrictions that pertain to the study. Here, you may say, "This is a 2-part experiment. Please do not sign up unless you can attend both sessions." DO NOT say, "You must attend both sessions," since that would be coercive. If there are no restrictions, write "NONE" in the space provided. (You may not exclude non-native English speakers.) 
  5. List the faculty member's name and contact information for subjects.

Consent Form

Follow the University's guidelines for informed consent. Go to the IRB website ( to be sure you have the most up-to-date consent form. Consent forms should be written in language suitable for your prospective participant. Avoid technical language and psychological jargon.

Debriefing Documents

See the attached format and instructions. Please note, this document must use the paragraph numbers and questions as shown in the format. Using a well-written debriefing provides a teaching opportunity and makes research participation an educational experience.

If your study involves deception, you will need to include a post session consent form which explains the deception, the rationale for the deception, and requests permission to use the data.

Debriefing for Experiment XXX: Title of Experiment as posted on Sona Systems

1. What is the general aim of this research?
State the larger goal of this line of research.

2. Is this correlational or experimental research?
If the study is experimental, name and describe one independent variable and one dependent variable. If the study is correlational, name and describe the two variables that you will be correlating. State your prediction or expected result.

3. What topic in introductory psychology does this research illustrate?
Link the research to a specific topic that is covered in the introductory psychology texts. Be sure to cite specific page numbers for every text that is in use.

4. Where can I learn more about this type of research?
First, list the book(s) used in Psych 120.
Students can refer to Chapter 13 in Nairne, J.S. (2014). Psychology (6th Edition). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth
Second, cite two articles (at least one of which must be an empirical report in a peer-reviewed journal) for further reading. Use APA-style references.
You can also refer to these articles in professional journals:
Dent, A. P. (2001). The relation between X and Y. International Journal of Psychology, 44, 12-41.
McMillan, T. (1999). The relation between Y and X. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 111, 1-26.

5. Which faculty member is supervising this research and how can I contact her/him?
Dr. Jane Doe, an associate professor in developmental psychology, is supervising this research. You may reach her at 494-xxxx, via email at

6. How long has the investigator been studying this specific topic and how does this experiment fit into the investigator's program of research?
Dr. Doe began investigating the effects of independent variable on topic X years ago. The current experiments are designed to….

A lot of research in psychology depends on the participation of individuals like yourself. We're very grateful for your help. Thank you very much for participating.


Deception and Debriefing Guide



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