In an effort to increase the availability of participants for research while at the same time trying to make the job of participation rather more rewarding we run a Psychology Participant Pool. Students enrolled in PSYCB 1102 (Introduction to Psychology II) have 5% of their course assessment devoted to either 5 hours of participation in research projects, offered through the Psychology Participant Pool scheme, or, alternatively, the completion of a 1000 word essay on a designated topic. This should provide a significant incentive to participate but we must ensure that the means of obtaining the 5% are fair, provide every opportunity for students to gain something beyond marks, and, above all, do not veer towards exploitation. For these reasons a series of procedures have been devised that should ensure recruitment is orderly, participation is recorded, and ethical processes for research are followed
The following requirements govern eligibility to utilise the participant pool:
- The research is being carried out by psychology staff, themselves, or staff as chief investigators
- The research has ethics approval
- No additional incentives are offered to participants in the participant pool
Your responsibilities once you are permitted access to the Participant Pool:
- The project must only be advertised on the Psychology Participant Pool notice board on the 2nd floor of H Building.
- At the end of each experimental session you, or a designated researcher, must complete and sign the Student's Participation Credit Form. This form is the student's property to be submitted as official verification of satisfactory completion of his or her participation.
- You must also complete the Researcher’s Participation Summary Form which will comprise a list of the student numbers of all participants, and submit this by week 12 of the semester to the Pool Co-ordinator.
- You should use no more hours than those allocated to you by the co-ordinator. Additional hours may be approved upon application to the co-ordinator. Those who exceed their allocation may not be offered participant pool access in future.
- Note that advertising of experiments should not occur in psychology lectures or laboratory classes. Students will be regularly encouraged to peruse the noticeboard.
- Full debriefing is obligatory. Ideally, debriefing should involve direct and personal communication, either immediately after participation or, when this is not possible, at some later date or through a personal letter. In practice, debriefing usually involves a full written description of the study (the abstract would do) on the Participant Pool Notice Board posted as soon as possible following completion of the study.
Debriefing means that participants are provided with an account of why the research was being conducted, what hypotheses or theories were being tested and, ideally, what was found. Note that appropriate debriefing is particularly important when using participants from the participant pool, because a condition of the operation of the pool is that the experience it provides be of educational benefit to the participants. This condition cannot be met if adequate debriefing information is not provided. Failure to give such debriefing is therefore regarded as a serious violation of research ethics and any suggestion from participants that adequate debriefing was not offered will be pursued.
There are two forms to be completed and submitted to the Pool Co-ordinator as well as notification that full ethics approval has been granted:
- Application form. This form requires you to provide details on the nature of the project and the demands that are to be made of participants.
- Participant Pool advertisement. This consists of a short description of the study that would allow students to make an informed choice between studies. It must conform to the template available on the web site. When the application has been approved, the student researcher is responsible for placing the advertisement on the Participant Pool Notice Board.
- Ethics approval. A copy of the memo granting full ethics approval should also be submitted with the two forms.