Completing the Prescreening (DSUR)

What is the Prescreening Survey?

The Departmental Prescreening always begins with DSUR. It is a series of questionnaires put together by UC Davis social science researchers. The survey is different each quarter, and researchers use the survey to help select qualified participants for their studies.

When should I complete the prescreening?

The prescreening should be taken early  in the quarter before you take other online surveys. It is an online study and counts toward your online study limit. If you take other online studies first, you may be able to sign up for the prescreen.

But I did another online study first and used up too many of my online study credits, and now I cannot take the prescreen. Isn’t there anything you can do?

No. The limit for online studies is firm. You can take 35% of your credits each quarter in online studies. If you do not know how many credits that is, multiply the number or credits you can earn this quarter by .35. You cannot go over this number, and it may mean you cannot take the prescreen. If you want to understand why there is a limit on online studies, please read that section of the FAQ.

Why should I complete the prescreening?

The prescreening is an easy first credit. It is also a prerequisite for many of the other experiments posted on Sona.

How do I take the prescreen?

The prescreen is an experiment listed in the research participation system and you can find the URL for the prescreening there. To take to the prescreening survey, sign up for the study that begins with DSUR.
You can take the prescreening right away. When you sign up, click on “Complete Survey Now.” If you cannot do it right away, when you return to your list of studies later, click on “View Study Website” to complete the survey. Take a screenshot of the final page and keep it as proof that you completed the survey.

Do I have to take the prescreen?

No, participation is voluntary. You may write papers instead of participating in any research studies. Please see the section on the paper option for more information.
When taking the prescreen you may encounter some questions that make you uncomfortable. Some of the questions in this survey concern social, political, and/or ethical issues that might offend some participants. If for any reason you feel uncomfortable and do not want to complete specific questions or entire questionnaires, you may skip these questions and you will still receive research participation credit at the end of the survey.

How long does it take to complete the prescreen?

Time to complete the prescreening varies across students, but it is supposed to take you approximately 1 hour. You can take it in several sessions, but you won’t receive credit until you complete it fully.

I answered 10 or so questions when I first logged in. Why didn’t I receive credit for the prescreen?

Those questions are a type of profile you set up each quarter and take only a few minutes to answer. The prescreening that is worth 1 credit is described in the previous questions and takes about an hour to complete.

I completed the prescreening in a previous quarter, can I take it again?

Yes. The prescreen changes from quarter to quarter, so students are allowed to retake it. In fact, researchers need students to retake the prescreen every quarter.

When will I receive credit for the prescreening?

You will receive 1 credit for completing the prescreening, which will happen automatically once you complete the it. If you do not received credit for the prescreening after completing it, contact the Subject Pool Coordinator at

When is the earliest and latest possible times for me to complete the prescreen?

The prescreen typically becomes active about 24 hours before the first day of instruction, and needs to be fully complete by the time listed on the timeslot.

An error occurred while I was taking the prescreening, what do I do?

Email the exact error message you received (along with your student ID) to the Subject Pool Coordinator