Each semester first year psychology students may accumulate up to 5 hours of participation in research projects through the School Research Experience Program. This service is supplied via Sona Systems, which provides the means for participants to sign-up for and participate in projects online. The system also allows researchers to organise their data collection session online.
Sona Systems can be accessed via the following link:
Issues with accounts should be communiated via email to the REP Administrator listed below.
Research Experience and Paid Participant systems
The School maintains two Sona System accounts, one for the management of undergraduate research participation and the second for projects that offer reimbursement to participants. The two systems are distinct, and therefore require two separate access accounts.
More information on the Reimbursement Participant System can be found here.
Sona Systems Supporting Documentation
Below are the links to the operational manuals for the system for both researchers and students
Students enrolled in both first-year psychology subjects may participate in 5 hours of research participation per semester (i.e., 10 hours in total during first-year). Students who choose to participate in the REP will be awarded 1% course credit per hour of research participation completed, up to a maximum of 5% per semester. Note that students are not eligible for additional course credit beyond 5 hours (5%) per semester.
Participation in five hours of research activities is expected to be completed by the end of week 12 of each semester.
To establish fair access for researchers, each Honours and Postgraduate Diploma student wishing to access this resource in first semester will have a limit of 80 hours. Postgraduate students and staff will be able to apply for 100 hours per semester.
It is important to note that prior to applying for the Research Experience Program (REP), your study must be approved by the relevant ethics committee.
Process of making an application
Step 1: Please ensure you have read the REP policy and understand your responsibilities as a researcher
If you do not yet have an existing REP researcher profile:
Step 2: Send an email to REPfirstname.lastname@example.org with:
- You full name
- Your UoM Staff or Student ID
- Your principal supervisor's full name (for PhD/MPsych/Fourth-Year students only)
Step 3: You will be advised by email when your researcher profile has been created
Step 4: Visit https://unimelb.sona-systems.com to access the REP portal where you can create new studies, administer existing studies, assign credits to participants, etc.
If you already have an existing REP researcher profile:
Step 2: Visit https://unimelb.sona-systems.com to access the REP portal where you can create new studies, administer existing studies, assign credits to participants, etc.
If you require assistance with accessing the REP portal, please email REPemail@example.com
Note that advertising of experiments should not occur in first level psychology lectures or laboratory classes. Payment or other incentives cannot be used for studies advertised as part of the Research Participation Program, except under special circumstances (see REP policy).
Responsibilities using REP
By registering and using the REP system, you are agreeing to abide by the following terms and conditions:
- At the end of each experimental session, you or an authorised research assistant must enter credit point in SONA system for the student that participated in your study.
- Full debriefing is obligatory. 'Debriefing' means that subjects are provided with an account of why the research is being conducted, and what hypotheses or theories are being tested. How this information is provided may vary depending on the nature of the project. Researchers may provide each subject with a verbal debriefing immediately after their participation and/or they may provide a written information sheet when the project as a whole is complete.
- Note that appropriate debriefing is particularly important when accessing the research participation program. A condition of the operation of this program is that the experience it provides educational benefit to the participants. This condition cannot be met if adequate debriefing information is not provided. Failure to give such debriefing is therefore regarded as a serious violation of research ethics.
- You should use no more hours than those allocated to you by the REP Convenor. Additional hours may be approved upon application to the REP Convenor. Those who exceed their allocation may not be offered access to the research participation program in future.
- After analysis has been completed, or at the end of the semester if all analysis has not been completed, a short written report (1-2 pages) of the findings of the study is to be made available to all participants .
Again this is an important aspect of REP and supports the educational objectives of the program. The report should provide participants with enough information for them to have a good sense of what the research was about and the main findings. For some studies these will only be 'preliminary' findings.
It is expected that this report would include some material on the background to the research, the specific aims and hypotheses, a brief overview of the materials and procedures, some findings, and an indication of the interpretation or conclusions you are making from these findings. Before sending off your report check that it includes the project title, and name of the chief investigator.
Send the report electronically to Psychological Sciences REPfirstname.lastname@example.org so that it can be posted on the first year LMS site. In addition it should also be sent electronically to the research participants involved. This should be done using blind carbon copy (Bcc) so as to avoid giving participants each other's email addresses. Honours students should consult their supervisor if in doubt about how to write this report.
- Course Convenor Contact Information