Signing up for Experiments

How do I sign up for experiments?

Please see the Sona detailed walk through for more instructions.  Please start signing up right away and be sure to show up for all of your appointments.  It becomes increasingly difficult to find open timeslots as the quarter progresses.  If you no-show, you may not find another timeslot to make up for the credit you missed.

When I tried to sign up for a study, I got an error message saying I was not allowed to sign up.

Please read the message carefully. It likely says that signing up for the study will cause you to exceed your limit for online studies. If you want to know more about this limit, please see the section on online studies.

Why are no experiments available?

From time to time, all of the appointments for experiments fill up, especially as the quarter progresses.  Keep checking back to Sona as experimenters are always posting new experiments and adding new appointments to existing experiments.

When you log in for the first time, you are asked to answer about 10 questions.  Researchers use the answers to these questions to screen for the participants they need.  You have the option to decline to answer any or all of the questions.   But if you do, it will decrease the selection of studies you can participate in.

Also, if you are under 18, you will not see any studies on Sona.  Please see the next Q&A.

I do not see any studies. Can you do something about that?

Unfortunately, the Subject Pool Coordinator cannot make more studies show up on Sona for you.  UC Davis is a research university.  Conducting research is a complex process. When researchers are ready to collect data from undergraduate participants, they open up timeslots on Sona. Studies are not posted just so students can do them. They are posted when there is data to collect.  From time to time, when timeslots become exceedingly scarce, the Subject Pool Coordinator will email researchers to ask if they are ready to collect data. At this point, researchers may open up more timeslots, but they fill up really fast.

But can’t I change my prescreen answers so I can see more studies?

Unless you declined to answer questions or you just turned 18, you cannot change your prescreen answers. The prescreen is set up to screen in qualified people for studies. If an unqualified person participates in a study, then that invalidates the data.

What should I do if I cannot find studies?

You have a choice.  You can wait for more studies to open up timeslots.  You can take an Incomplete and do your studies in the next few quarters.  You can write papers.  It is up to you.  If you do not want to take the chance that more studies will not show up, and you do not want to get an Incomplete, then you will have to write papers.  More on the paper option is covered on the paper option page.

What if I am under 18?

You cannot participate in experiments if you are under 18; you will need to write papers to earn your credits. You can participate in experiments after you turn 18. Once you turn 18, email the Subject Pool Coordinator, at and ask her to reset your Sona prescreen responses. Then you will be able to reanswer the questions and indicate that you are 18.

When is the latest I can earn research credits?

During Fall, Winter, and Spring Quarters, the last day to earn credit is 5 pm the last day of instruction. You cannot earn credits during finals week. During Summer Sessions, the last day is the day before the last day of instruction.

However, don’t wait until the last minute: end-of-the-quarter sessions tend to fill up quickly. If you wait until the last minute, you may be faced with an unpleasant surprise when there are fewer experiments available or the sessions are all filled up.

What if I forgot my appointment date or time or the location for my experiment?

Your appointments are be listed in the Research Participation System. You can log in to remind yourself of your appointments.