The SONA system is utilized by researchers interested in either conducting studies that require the physical presence of the participants or using SONA's prescreen features to narrow down a specific pool of Columbia University students for online studies. The lab also offers an online panel which allows participation in studies from any location but studies are unable to be targeted at the Columbia University population specifically. Please note that no studies may be posted on SONA or the online panel without first achieving IRB approval.
- Everyone who uses lab facilities (including computers, lab rooms, equipment) must have a SONA account. Researchers and their assistants should and all participants must have accounts as well. This means that if you are able to recruit participants by flyers, twitter, etc. who do not already have SONA accounts, you must create an account for them prior to their participation in your experiment. This is essential in order to build up our participant pool and to keep a clear channel of communication. Please note that SONA accounts must be approved by the system before they are active, and only accounts created with a .edu e-mail address will be approved. If you are creating accounts for walk-ins please be sure to use .edu e-mail addresses.
- Prior to listing any studies on SONA you must fill out an user agreement form to confirm that you will not distribute data from the SONA system inappropriately. Forms must be signed and delivered to the lab coordinator, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday in B201.
- Before you place time slots on SONA for experiments being run in Behavioral Lab rooms you absolutely, positively must request permission from the lab coordinator (details here). Timeslots posted on SONA without corresponding approved room reservations will be deleted.
- As of January 2012 we will be moving towards a credit-based system to facilitate the generation of lab statistics. This change is purely cosmetic; all studies are paid only, and credits do not have any redeemable value. When posting a new study on SONA set it to grant "1 credit" and include your payment amount information both in the "Study Abstract" and "Study Description" sections.
- The lab has a Carrot and Stick policy which monitors the amount of No-Shows on participant SONA accounts. In order to properly enforce our policy it is vital that all researchers correctly code No-Shows. “Unexcused” no-shows should only be given to participants who did not show up for their scheduled appointment and did not make contact with the researcher; “excused” no-shows may be given out to participants who did not show up but contacted the researcher with an explanation or a desire to re-schedule. If you are still unsure of how to appropriately code no-shows please see the SONA Systems Guide - No Shows.
- Related to no-show coding, if a participant failed to show up for his or her given timeslot and you would like to give them the option of rescheduling, simply leave them coded as “Excused no-show”. They will be able to sign up for future timeslots of your study and their participation record will be more clear.
- Related to our C&S policy, in order to properly reward participants the lab asks that all timeslots be credited the same day as the experiment occurs, or at the very least by the end of the same week. With your cooperation we can keep our records up-to-date and better our participant pool.
If you are unfamiliar with the SONA program or are looking for help with a specific topic read over the following walkthroughs. If after reading the appropriate documents you are still having difficulty please contact the lab coordinator.
- SONA Systems Guide - Creating a Study
- SONA Systems Guide - Adding Time Slots
- SONA Systems Guide - Deleting Time Slots
- SONA Systems Guide - No Shows