Research Requirements for Introductory Psychology: Student Guidelines

Research Requirements for Introductory Psychology: Student Guidelines

Psychology is the science of behavior and mind. One of the goals of your introductory psychology course is to expose you to the science of psychology. Therefore, one requirement of the course is to fulfill a six-hour research requirement. You will receive full credit if you complete the requirement, but will lose one full letter grade if you do not complete the required credit hours. You may choose to participate in on-going faculty and student research or you may choose to read and briefly summarize 6 psychology research articles. However you choose to complete the requirement, we hope that participation in the research program here at Penn State Behrend will prove to be an enlightening and educational experience. You will learn about conducting scientific research and may provide valuable data for the faculty and students who conduct research. You may be assured that all research conducted at Penn State has been approved by the University Ethics Review Board.

Choice 1: Research Participation

WHERE: Research Pool Sona Systems

  • Note: the Research Participation Pool will be available to students after the first day of class.
  • HOW: DO NOT attempt to register, your professor already has you registered and you will receive an email in your PSU email account from the Research Participation Pool with your user id and password. This email will be sent to you no later than the third week of school. Please add this email address to your list of safe senders: Administrative Email Address.
  • The Email will look like this:

Your login information for Research Participation Pool is listed below.

User ID: ala495
Password: 586thgye

Please go to Sona Systems to login to the system.

If you have any questions, please email Administrative Email Address

Steps to retrieve password, if you do not receive this email:

  • Click on the “LOST YOUR PASSWORD?” Click here to retrieve it! Link.
  • Enter your PSU email id (without the

If you are registered in the system your password will now be sent to your PSU email account.

  • TO LOGIN: After you have accessed your PSU email account and received your password, go back to the main Research Participation Pool site. Enter your PSU email id (without the Then enter your Research Pool password. Make sure to change your password, after you log in the first time.
  • AFTER LOGIN: select an experiment by clicking on “Study Sign-Up” and sign up for the time that is convenient for you. Be sure to fill out all the requested information. Refer to the tutorial provided in class if you are unsure how to Login or refer to the copy available from the research participation pool website.
  • READ your appointment reminders carefully! Some experiments may take place in different locations and/or times. You are held responsible if you show up late or in the wrong location. Be responsible and show up for your appointments 5 minutes early. Remember that a student just like you is counting on your help for their project.
  • CANCELLING: if you must cancel because of an emergency, you must cancel your appointment no less than 2 hours before your scheduled arrival. Cancel the experiment time from your research participation pool window and be sure to email the researcher’s to tell them of your situation. If necessary call the psych lab (814) 898-6036 at least 2 hours before your scheduled appointment. Be sure to leave the following information on the machine:
  • Your name, class time/day, and professor
  • The name, time, and date of the experiment you are canceling
  • Your phone number
  • HOURS: For your compensation, you will be given at least ½ credit hour for each experiment you participate in. If a particular experiment should take more than 35 minutes, you will receive 1 credit hour. If the experiment should take more than 65 minutes, you will receive 1.5 credit hours, etc.
  • AFTER THE EXPERIMENT: The experimenter will give you a credit receipt. It should have your instructor’s name, course number, course section, name and student ID number, date and time of the experiment, and the experimenter’s name. Always keep your receipts stored in a safe place in case there is a discrepancy between your records and ours.
  • WHAT IF THE RESEARCHER IS NOT THERE? Wait in the location of the experiment 15 minutes past the time for which you signed up. Then, on a piece of paper write your name, class day and time, professor, date and time of the experiment, and the experimenter’s name. Give this paper to the Lab Attendant on duty in the Psychology Lab that same day. In addition, email Austin Kobylinski at with the same information. You will receive ½ credit per hour in compensation for your time.

Choice 2: Research Summaries

If you choose not to participate in psychological research, you may also satisfy the requirement by reading an original psychological research article and completing a 300 to 500 word critique. The critique should include a summary and your evaluation of the article. The following requirements must be followed.

  • Choose an article that interests you in a Peer Reviewed Psychology Journal, such as those found on PsychINFO, no more than 2 calendar years old. [You cannot use Psychology Today, Newsweek, or the Behrend Psychology Journal, or other popular magazines]. Current Directions in Psychology is a good example and accessible to students. Each journal article is worth 1 credit hour.
  • Your critique should explain what the research was about, the results obtained and your opinion of the research.
  • Format: The paper must be typed, double-spaced, and have 1-inch margins on all sides. You must also include a separate title page that includes your instructor’s name, section, time/day the class meets, your name, student id #, a complete reference to the article you read (article title, year, journal, and page #’s), and a photocopy of the first page of your journal article.
  • Please deposit the summaries in the Research Participation Pool paper box located in the lobby of the Psychology Lab in the second floor of the Turnbull Hall.
  • In order to receive credit for Critiques; all requirements must be met, including: a minimum of 300 words, double-spaced, 1-inch margins, a separate title page, and most importantly a photocopy of the first page of the journal article. No credit will be issued for any reason if requirements are missing and/or not followed. It is the sole responsibility of the student to assure all requirements are met upon submission.***

*** All critiques must be completed by Friday, April 27, 2018—no later than 5:00 p.m.


What happens if I do not complete six credit hours before the last day of regular class?

If you don’t complete six credit hours of research by Friday, April 27, 2018 at 5:00 p.m., your PSYCH 100 grade will be decreased by one full letter grade, i.e. A to B, or a percentage equivalent to one letter grade. Warning: be aware that there are not always experiments available the last week of class. Complete your credits EARLY!

CREDIT POSTINGS: you can check your records with the credit reports from your Sona account under the completed section of the website after login. Also, completed credits will be posted each month in the lobby of the Psych Lab. The list will have your name, a list of credited experiments, and the total hours completed. If your records do not agree with the posting, see Austin Kobylinski at by appointment, in the psychology lab.

CREDIT DISCREPANCIES: All credit discrepancies must be resolved through either your experimenter’s or through the participant pool intern Austin Kobylinski before 5:00 p.m. on the Friday, April 27, 2018 Deadline.

Note: A reminder to students, please remember to check your credit summaries on Sona regularly and email Austin Kobylinski at with problems as soon as they are found. Please keep copies of all papers and emails exchanged relating to your research credits. Researchers as well as participants are required to keep accurate records for verification.

Questions, Comments, Concerns?:

Please contact Austin Kobylinski at with questions.


Psychology lab hours are: Monday-Thursday from 9:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., Friday from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., and closed on Saturday and Sunday (all hours subject to change).

Turnbull Hall is located across from Glenhill Farmhouse and adjacent to the Studio Theater. See the campus map.