Undergraduate Research Pool Information
Students in some Criminal Justice courses are required to earn "credits" of research (called SRPCs) which will be graded as specified in your syllabus. This page contains information about how to complete this requirement.

Research is a process by which professionals "know" things. For instance, we "know" how crime victims typically react to being victimized because someone has done research. Much of the information in your text books is based on past research. Thus, you can contribute to the research findings and help advance the field by participating in research. Participating in research also helps you learn about criminal justice. By participating in research, you will learn a little bit about how research is conducted. For example, if you choose to participate in a research study, you will receive a detailed "debriefing form" which will tell you what the researchers were studying and how the research was designed.

Special Notes Criminal Justice students:

Please make sure you check your class syllabus for the deadline for when this research component is due. Students who miss the deadline cannot receive credit for the research component. Researchers will notify professors that you completed the research. You do not have to tell your professor.  If you have questions, see the section at the bottom of this page for who to contact.

There are three Options for completing the research component, listed below. Many students will choose Option 1, which is to be a participant in a study (e.g., fill out a survey). If you choose Option 1, please choose a study that is related to crime, law, legal court trials, deviance, or is in some way related to criminal justice if such studies are available and of interest to you. See details below under the heading "Option 1. Procedure for participating as a subject in research".

The Social Research Participation Credit (SRPC) Requirement for Students in the Social Sciences


Students taking courses in the humanities, social, managerial, and behavioral sciences may earn Social Research Participation Credits (SRPCs) for their courses if required by their individual professors. The number of SRPCs may vary by course and/or professor. These credits will be factored into your final grade (see your specific course syllabus for details). SRPCs may be earned by any of the following 3 methods: 1) participating in IRB-approved research studies conducted under the supervision of designated UNR faculty, 2) writing a research paper on a topic related to your course, and/or 3) writing summaries of published research using library resources. You may earn all of your SRPCs by any one method, or you may earn some SRPCs by each method. You are simply required to earn the total of SRPCs assigned by your course instructor.

The reason for the requirement is to enhance your understanding of social and behavioral research. The descriptions of social and behavioral research that appear in textbooks offer an incomplete picture of what a social scientist actually does. Thus, there are educational values that may be realized by first-hand experience of the various kinds of social and behavioral research and professional practices engaged in by social scientists. In addition, participation in research provides a service to the field of social and behavioral research by contributing to the knowledge base and understanding of human behavior and capacities, and a service to faculty and students conducting research at UNR. Similar benefits result from reading original literature in professional journals and synthesizing this information in the form of an original research paper.


Option 1. Procedure for participating as a subject in research


You may earn some or all of your SRPCs by participating as a research subject. Each hour or fraction thereof earns you 1 SRPC. Some studies take less than an hour to complete; however, the minimum SRPC awarded for participation in 1 credit. A study that requires over an hour of your time, but less than 2 hours, is worth 2 SRPCs. Consistent with this guideline, researchers determine the worth (in credits) for their studies and may include other factors related to level of demand of the study. The number of credits is established and published on the SONA website. The most common example of this is that additional credit may be awarded for some “in-person studies” (that is, studies that are not completed online). Thus, a study taking 60 minutes or less and conducted on campus is typically worth 2 credits. The number of SRPCs a study is worth will be noted on the description for that study.


Credit will be awarded in SONA within 3 days of your participation. Researchers need that time to confirm your participation and award the credit in SONA. Once you see the credit earned in SONA, you're done! (There is no need to contact your professor).


***Sign-Up Procedure***

IMPORTANT: There are other SONA systems at UNR. Your class is using the Social Research SONA system located: http://unr-socialresearch.sona-systems.com.  Use ONLY this SONA in order to meet your class requirement; it is separate from the Psychology Dept. SONA. If you participate in a SONA that is not used in your class your participation will not register credit for your class, so check the web address carefully at the time your register.


IMPORTANT: You MUST go on the SONA system and assign the credits to your course. This is how SONA system knows what class you want credit for. If you fail to indicate what class you want credit for by assigning your credit to a class, you won’t get credit. Make sure you assign it to the correct class, the correct professor, and the correct semester.

To sign-up for a survey or experiment, you should:
1. Obtain an account for the social research sign-up system. You can do this by going to http://unr- socialresearch.sona-systems.com, clicking on the 'request an account here' link, and fill in the information requested. A username and password will then be emailed to you.
2. Log in to http://unr-socialresearch.sona-systems.com using your username and password.
3. Click on the link for an available study and read the information page for that study. Read the restrictions carefully to be sure that you qualify as a participant (e.g., if you are male, do not sign-up for a study that is for females only). After viewing the studies available to you, select the study in which you wish to participate, and the appointment time that fits your schedule. Each study listed will contain the day, date, time, and room in which it is conducted. Some of the studies available can be completed online and do not require a trip to campus. Studies change throughout the semester, with some ending and new ones starting before the term is over. If you do not find one that is at a time convenient for you, check back in a few days and you are likely to find new alternatives to choose from.
4. Pick a timeslot that you can attend and click on the 'sign-up' button.
5. Note the time and location of the study. If the building the study is conducted in is unfamiliar to you, re-read the information page to see if instructions on how to locate the building and room are provided for you. If there are no instructions, email the researcher for more information on how to locate their study. Not all studies require a visit to campus. Some can be conducted online.
6. An email reminder will be sent to you as a confirmation that you signed up, and a reminder email will be sent to you 24 hours prior to your appointment.
7. If a conflict arises and it becomes necessary to cancel your appointment, you may do so up to 24 hours prior to your appointment time without penalty. You may do so by signing in the SONA sign-up system and canceling your appointment. If an emergency arises and you are not able to attend your appointment or cancel in the allotted time, send an email to the researcher explaining the circumstances, and you will be able to sign up for that study again.
8. You MUST go on the SONA system and assign the credits to your course and professor. If you fail to assign credits to your course/professor, then your professor will not know you did the study.

Students Who Are Minors (Under 18 Years of Age)

Students who have not reached their 18th birthday at the time of a research or professional training are not permitted to participate in research studies, unless the research study specifically identifies minors as a population of interest in the study description. In this case, students who are minors will be required to sign an assent form. If there are no studies available for minors, please do options 2 or 3, or make other arrangements with Dr. Miller mkmiller@unr.edu.

At the Study

You do not have to participate in, or complete, any specific study, and you are under no obligation to give reasons if you decide not to participate, or if you decide to leave before completing the study. There are no penalties in such cases. If you decide to leave before the study has begun, you will neither receive a SRPC for participating nor be penalized by losing a SRPC for not participating. If you change your mind about participating after beginning participation in the study, you will not be penalized, but you will not receive credit. You do not have to answer every question on the survey, but you do have to complete a substantial portion of the study in order to get credit.


In order to make participating in research studies a meaningful learning experience, at the conclusion of the experiment the researcher will briefly explain the study. If you have questions, feel free to ask them during this explanation stage.

Option 2. Procedure for Writing a Research Paper

Students may earn some or all of their SRPCs by writing a research paper. Check with your instructor as to specific requirements. For 4 credits of SRPC the research paper should be 4-6 pages; for 6 credits of SRPC the research paper should be 6-8 pages.  The paper should be written according to APA (or ASA, or the formatting style most commonly used in this course) formatting guidelines. The topic of the research paper will be determined by the course and approved by the SONA administrator prior to beginning the paper. Topic ideas and papers are turned in to the SONA Pool administrator socialscienceresearchSONA.unr@gmail.com for grading. Specify your full name, your professor’s name, and your course number in the paper and email to obtain credit.


Papers are due 10 days before the deadline stated in your syllabus. This gives the SONA administrator time to grade your paper.


Papers will be evaluated on an acceptable/not-acceptable basis. An acceptable paper includes a title page, 4-6 page (for 4 credits for SRPC) or 6-8 page (for 6 credits of SRPC) body of the paper that is consistent and literate, and a reference/works cited page with at least 4 references for a 4 credits paper, or at least 6 references for a 6 credit paper .


All usual consequences for plagiarism, or knowingly turning in work that is not your own, apply for this optional assignment. Submitting a summary that you submitted for another purpose (e.g., to get credit in another course) is also considered academic dishonesty. Consequences for academic dishonesty will be determined by your professor.

Option 3. Procedure for Summarizing Empirical Research

 Students may earn some or all of their SRPCs by writing summaries of published empirical research articles from scholarly journals.  Empirical research involves the systematic collection of data, statistical analysis, and reporting of results. Articles that are literature reviews, theory articles, case studies, and opinion pieces are not empirical research. If you are unsure if an article is empirical check with your instructor.


This option consists of reading empirical research articles published in journals found in the library and then writing brief 400-500 word summaries (IN YOUR OWN WORDS) of each article. Articles need to be from Criminal Justice research journals noted below.


Credit.  Each summary is worth 1 SRPC. Students may earn all of their SRPCs by writing article summaries; or they may earn a fraction of their SRPCs in this manner and combine them with SRPCs earned in Option 1 or Option 2.


Summaries are turned in by email to the SONA Pool administrator at: socialscienceresearchSONA.unr@gmail.com


Summaries are due 10 days before the deadline stated in your syllabus. This gives the SONA administrator time to grade your summaries.


Summaries will be evaluated on an acceptable/not-acceptable basis. An acceptable summary must include the complete reference to the summarized article, along with a description (IN THE STUDENT’S OWN WORDS) which contains: (a) the purpose of the research project, (b) the basic procedures used, (c) what was actually found, and (d) what the findings mean (theoretically, practically, or both). Along with each summary, the student must also submit a PHOTOCOPY OF THE ABSTRACT from the published article.

Acceptable journals for criminal justice students include:
Crime and Delinquency
Criminal Justice Review
Journal of Criminal Justice
Criminal Justice and Policy Review
Law and Human Behavior
Behavioral Sciences and the Law
Crime, Law and Social Change
Criminal Justice and Behavior
Violence and Victims


Please use one of these approved journals. If you would like to use a different journal, please email socialscienceresearchSONA.unr@gmail.com to ask whether your chosen journal is acceptable. You can find journals by going to the Knowledge Center web page http://knowledgecenter.unr.edu/ You can search for journals, or specific topics that interest you.

All usual consequences for plagiarism, or knowingly turning in work that is not your own, apply for this optional assignment.  Submitting a summary that you submitted for another purpose (e.g., to get credit in another course) is also considered academic dishonesty. Consequences for academic dishonesty will be determined by your professor.


How do I know the SONA has counted my credits? 
Students can also log into SONA and check their number of completed credits at any time.  Please allow 2 to 3 days after completion of a SONA research participation credit for it to be recorded on the SONA site.  If you do not see credit for a research study after 3 days following its completion, please contact the researcher of the study in which you participated.  If you encounter further problems, please contact the SONA Administrator at:  socialscienceresearchSONA.unr@gmail.com 


Do not contact your professor. S/he will not know whether you have completed credits until s/he receives the mid-semester or final reports. Mid-semester and final reports of the number of SONA credits for each student will be generated through SONA, and they will be provided to the instructor of the class(es) that the student has identified on the Social Research SONA site.

If you have questions, please contact the SONA administrator at socialscienceresearchSONA.unr@gmail.com.  If you have questions about receiving credit from a research study (option 1), contact the researcher for that study. No one can give you credit for a research study except the researcher.

If you require any special assistance or accommodations in fulfilling the SRPC requirement check first with the SONA administrator socialscienceresearchSONA.unr@gmail.com. If they are unable to handle your accommodation, please contact the Director of the Interdisciplinary Social Psychology Program, Dr. Colleen Murray.

If the SONA administrator cannot answer your questions, contact Dr. Monica Miller at mkmiller@unr.edu or 784-6021. If you have a problem with the SONA website, please contact the SONA administrator at: socialscienceresearchSONA.unr@gmail.com.