Undergraduate Research Pool

The social research participation credit (SRPC) requirement

Students taking courses in the humanities, social sciences, managerial and behavioral sciences may earn social research participation credits (SRPCs) for their courses if required by their individual professors. The number of SRPCs can vary by course and/or professor. These credits will be factored into the final grade (see specific course syllabus for details).

To earn SRPC, you must complete the activity (e.g., study, paper, summary). No credit is given for incomplete activities.

The purpose for the requirement is to enhance the student's 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 the University. Similar benefits result from reading original literature in professional journals and synthesizing this information in the form of an original research paper.

SRPCs can be earned by any of the following three methods:

  • Option 1: Participating as a subject in research

    Credit: Students may earn some or all of their SRPCs by participating as a research subject. Each hour or fraction thereof earns one SRPC. Some studies take less than an hour to complete; however, the minimum SRPC awarded for participation is one credit. A study that requires more than one hour of time, but less than two hours, is worth two SRPCs. Consistent with this guideline, researchers determine the worth (in credits) for their studies and can include other factors related to level of demand of the study. The number of credits is established and published on the SONA website, an experiment management system. 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 two 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 three days of participation and students should check their accounts. Researchers need time to confirm participation and award the credit in SONA. Students do not need to contact professors.

    Sign-up procedure

    There are other SONA systems at the University of Nevada, Reno. Criminal justice classes use the Social Research SONA system. Use only this SONA in order to meet class requirements; it is separate from the Department of Psychology SONA. If students participate in a SONA that is not used in their class, their participation will not register credit for the class, so check the web address carefully at the time of registration.

    Students must go on the SONA system and assign the credits to their course. If students fail to indicate what class they want credit for by assigning the credit to a class, they won't get credit. Make sure to assign the credits to the correct class, the correct professor and the correct semester.

    To sign-up for a survey or experiment, you should:

    • Obtain an account for the social research sign-up system. You can do this by clicking on the "request an account" link and fill in the information requested. A username and password will then be emailed to you.
    • Log into the SONA system using your username and password.
    • 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.
    • Pick a time slot that you can attend and click on the "sign-up" button.
    • 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.
    • 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 before your appointment.
    • If a conflict arises and it becomes necessary to cancel your appointment, you may do so up to 24 hours before your appointment time without penalty. You may do so by signing into the SONA 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.
    • 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 (younger than 18 years old)

    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 for credit, or make other arrangements with your professor.

    During 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: Writing a research paper

    Students can earn some or all of their SRPCs by writing a research paper. Check with your instructor as to specific requirements. For four credits of SRPC, the research paper should be four-six pages; for six credits of SRPC the research paper should be six-eight 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 before beginning the paper. Topic ideas and papers are turned into the SONA pool administrator 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, four-six pages (for four credits for SRPC) or six-eight pages (for six credits of SRPC) body of the paper that is consistent and literate, and a reference/works cited page with at least four references for a four credits paper, or at least six references for a six 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) also is considered academic dishonesty. Consequences for academic dishonesty will be determined by your professor.

  • Option 3: 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, in your own words, brief 400-500 word summaries of each article. Articles need to be from criminal justice research journals noted below.

    Each summary is worth one 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. 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 which contains: the purpose of the research project, the basic procedures used, what was actually found, and 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
    • Criminology
    • Violence and Victims

    Please use one of these approved journals. If you would like to use a different journal, please email the SONA Pool administrator to ask whether your chosen journal is acceptable. You can find journals by going to the Knowledge Center. 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) also is considered academic dishonesty. Consequences for academic dishonesty will be determined by your professor.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know the SONA has counted my credits? 

Students can log into SONA and check the number of completed credits at any time. Please allow two-three 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 three 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.

Do not contact your professors. They will not know whether you have completed credits until they receive 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 SONA site.

What if I need more help?

If you have questions, please contact the SONA administrator. 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.

If the SONA administrator cannot answer your questions, contact Monica Miller (775) 784-6021 in the Department of Criminal Justice.