Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions for Participants

  1. Will my participation be confidential?
  2. How can I be sure that it is safe to participate in these studies?
  3. How much money can I earn by participating?
  4. If I register now, will I be registered automatically for next semester, too?
  5. Can my roommate (friend, spouse, etc.) and I use the same email address when registering?
  6. What do I do if I forgot my password?
  7. How do I change my password?
  8. How do I change my email address in my Study Pool account?
  9. Can I participate in studies at Harvard if I am not a Harvard student?
  10. How can I participate in online studies?
  11. Is my account still good if I have not participated in studies for over a year?
  12. I came to my study appointment. Why didn't I get paid?
  13. I am a student participating in the Study Pool for course credit. How do I make sure my study credits get assigned to my Psychology course?
  14. Where is the Study Pool Office?
  15. How long do the studies last?
  16. Can I work on homework or other work during an experiment?
  17. How do I cancel a study appointment?
  18. I missed my study appointment, but I never cancelled with the researcher. What do I do?
  19. I was turned away because the researcher said I was not on the list, even though I signed up for an appointment through the Study Pool site. What can I do?
  20. How do I get more information about the study in which I participated?
  21. I am not 18 but have a Parent Consent form. Can I participate in studies for people over 18?
  22. How do I unsubscribe or remove my account from the Study Pool?
  23. I found an error on your Web site. Whom can I notify?


1. Will my participation be confidential?

Your participation in Psychological research at Harvard will remain confidential and your identity will not be stored with your data. If you sign up to participate in Psychology studies through Sona, our online appointment system, you will be assigned a numeric Identity Code and that code will be associated with your responses. The list connecting your name with this number will be kept in a locked room and will be destroyed once all the data have been collected and analyzed. The experimenter will ask you to read and sign a Consent Form at the beginning of the study, assuring you of your rights to confidentiality. For more information, see the Study Pool Security Policy.

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2. How can I be sure that it is safe to participate in these studies?

The Psychology Department mandates that all studies included in the Study Pool will meet the ethical standards of the field and rules of the University, particularly the following:

  1. Participants must be permitted to terminate participation in the experiment at any point.
  2. The study must be approved specifically for use in the Study Pool by the Study Pool Committee and the Committee on the Use of Human Subjects in Research.
  3. Participants must sign an informed Consent Form.
  4. Studies that use deception should debrief participants appropriately, as determined by the Institutional Review Board (IRB).

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3. How much money can I earn by participating?

If you are participating in studies for pay, you can earn $5 for a half-hour study and $10 for a full hour. Most studies range from 30 minutes to 2 hours long. The length of study and the payment amounts may differ depending on what you will be asked to do. Some online studies may send payment to participants through the mail. You can find specific information about compensation in each study description.

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4. If I register now, will I be registered automatically for next semester, too?

Yes, your account will be available as long as you continue to participate in studies and follow the Study Pool policies for participation. If your account is not used for a year or more, we may deactivate it as part of routine maintenance. If this happens, just send email to the Study Pool Coordinator and ask that your account be activated again.

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5. Can my roommate (friend, spouse, etc.) and I use the same email address when registering?

No. Every participant must have a unique email address. Participants will receive their study appointment confirmations by email and this information is considered private. If you do not have an email address, Hotmail, Yahoo, and Gmail provide free email service. Every participant must use only ONE email account to register in the Study Pool.

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6. What do I do if I forgot my password?

Click HERE. On the left side of the page, you will see "Lost Your Password? Click here to Retrieve it." When you enter your User ID or your email address, the system will send you an email with your password. To change your password, log into your account and click "My Profile."

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7. How do I change my password?

Click HERE to log into your account in the Study Pool Sign up system. Then click "My Profile" and you can change your password.

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8. How do I change my email address in my Study Pool account?

Click HERE to log into your account in the Study Pool Sign up system. Then click "My Profile" to enter your new email address so that you can continue to receive study appointment confirmations and reminders. Please be sure to do this if you are a Harvard students and you want to continue to participate in studies after you graduate.

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9. Can I participate in studies at Harvard if I am not a Harvard student?

Yes and thank you for your interest. Members of the community are invited to participate in studies in the Psychology Department at Harvard for pay. Please go to the Sign Up page on this Web site for more information. If you are having trouble signing up or have questions about participation, please contact the Study Pool Coordinator.

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10. How can I participate in online studies?

Most online studies include the word "Online" in the titles. Researchers post new studies all the time, so please bookmark the Study site and check back and see whether there are any new ones that might be of interest to you.

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11. Is my account still good if I have not participated in a study in over a year?

Maybe. Your account may have been deactivated as part of our yearly maintenance. To see if your account is still active, click HERE and try to log in with your User ID and your password. If you have forgotten your password, you can have a new one emailed to you by clicking "Lost Your Password? Click here to Retrieve it." If you still cannot log into your account, please send email to the Study Pool Coordinator.

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12. I came to my study appointment. Why didn't I get my credits or payment?

If you have not received credit for a study you completed, please give the researcher a few days to award the credit. Then contact the researcher who conducted the study to ask about your credit.

If you were late to a study, the researcher is under no obligation to pay you or award you credit. Late arrivals are not accepted because they can inconvenience everyone involved. Often, a researcher will have another participant immediately after your appointment and cannot accept you if you are late.

Please allow extra time for travel in case of traffic, weather, or unusual circumstances. Also, the elevators in William James Hall are frequently in use, it often takes several minutes to arrive at the upper floors where your study may be located. The researcher makes the final call on the time of arrival. Please review the Study Pool Late/No-Show Policy.

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13. I am a student participating in the Study Pool for Psychology course credit. How do I make sure my study credits get assigned to my Psychology course?

When you created your account, you should have selected the courses you are taking this semester from a drop-down list. Only students registered in the courses on the list need to earn Study Pool credits. You can check your credits in your Study Pool account.

  1. Click HERE to log into your Study Pool account.
  2. Click "My Profile."
  3. Scroll down to see your credits and the courses you are taking.
  4. If you need to select your courses, click "Change Courses" and select the courses  that you are taking this semester.
  5. If you are not registered in any of the courses on the list, select "Participating for Pay Only."
  6. Click "Save Changes."

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14. Where is the Study Pool Office?

The Study Pool Office is located in 228 William James Hall, 33 Kirkland Street, Cambridge, MA. If you have questions about participating in Psychology studies at Harvard, please feel free to contact the Study Pool Coordinator at studypool@wjh.harvard.edu.

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15. How long do the studies last?

Studies differ in their length and level of involvement, but studies generally run from about a half hour to 2 hours. As you are signing up, check the study descriptions for details.

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16. Can I work on homework or talk on my cell phone during an experiment?

NO. Researchers must minimize distractions and ensure participants are engaged fully in the study.

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17. How do I cancel a study appointment?

You can cancel by logging into your Study Pool account. If that does not work, you should send email or call the researcher AS SOON AS POSSIBLE to cancel. You will find contact information for the researchers in the study description and in your appointment confirmation email. You need to cancel your appointment 24 hours before your appointment time. The researcher can decide whether or not to reschedule you for another time or give you an unexcused absence.

If you miss a study appointment without contacting the researcher in advance to cancel, you will receive an unexcused absence. If you have three unexcused absences during the semester, your account will be deactivated for the semester and you will not be allowed to sign up for more studies. The Study Pool Coordinator is also notified when this happens. For more information, please see the Late/No-Show Policy.

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18. I missed my study appointment, but I never cancelled with the researcher. What do I do?

If you missed a study appointment, you should contact the researcher and explain the situation. The researcher may decide to reschedule you for another time, but they are under no obligation to do so. You will receive an Unexcused Absence for missing the appointment.

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19. I was turned away because the researcher said I was not on the list, even though I signed up for an appointment through the Study Pool site. What can I do?

You can check your appointment schedule from any computer that has internet access. Log into your account and make sure you have the right date, time, and location. Studies are being run on several different floors in the building and sometimes in other locations on campus. If there is any confusion about your study appointment, you may contact the Study Pool Coordinator.

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20. How do I get more information about the study in which I participated?

After you complete a study, you should receive a Debriefing document that describes the study, the hypotheses, and the research process. In addition, you can read the article listed in the Debriefing and you may contact the researcher about the analysis or publication of the study data.

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21. I am not 18 but have a Parent Consent form. Can I participate in studies for people over 18?

No. You must still meet the age requirements for all studies.

22. How do I unsubscribe or remove my account from the Study Pool?

You do not need to do anything if you no longer wish to participate in Psychology Studies. Your account will go dormant and eventually be deleted if you do not log in again. If you want to be certain you are removed, you can email the Study Pool Coordinator and ask that your account be deleted from the system.

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23. I found an error on the Study Pool Web site. Whom can I notify?

We appreciate your help. If you have found an error, please notify the Study Pool Coordinator by email and send a description of the error.

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Psychology Study Pool at Harvard University
228 William James Hall
33 Kirkland Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Info: 617.495.3891

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