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Sona Research Participation System

The Sona System is a research participation and management tool that connects undergraduate students to faculty and graduate students who need participants for their research and dissertation studies. This online system allows researchers to post studies for recruitment, instructors to encourage student participation in research activities and students to sign up to participate in open research studies. The system has elements to assist the researcher with human subject protection and Institutional Review Board (IRB) requirements, keep track of participation and send out confidential reminder notices. It is a great opportunity for undergraduate students to gain introductory research experience. Many instructors have a research component as part of their course or offer extra credit for students who complete research studies using the Sona System.

New Account Information

New instructors, principal investigators or research who need an account created can email


Student accounts will automatically be created during the fall and spring semesters by the third week of classes. During the summer semester, students will need to create their own participant account by clicking on the “Request Account” button and following the prompts.


New Research Studies

Before a study can be placed on the Sona System, the researcher will need to email a copy of the IRM approval letter to Only faculty, staff and students in the College of Education and Human Sciences will be allowed to place their study on the system.


University Research Compliance


Tutorial Videos

Automatic credit granting (for researchers)

Accessing course credit reports (for instructors)


Useful Documents

IRB recruitment script for Sona System (for researchers)

Sona manual for credit granting (for researchers)

Sona course credit reports (for instructors)


Detailed Instructions for Instructors

Instructors in any College of Education and Human Sciences course (undergraduate, graduate, online, on-site) are encouraged to enroll their classes to participate in studies for which their students are eligible. Instructors may choose to have students participate in Sona either for required credit or for extra credit. Half an hour of participation is equivalent to 0.5 Sona credits (on average instructors require/offer two credits of research participation).  Please note that instructors must provide an alternative to research participation in order to comply with research ethics standards.


In order to utilize the Sona System, please complete the following steps:


  1. Inform the Sona administrator you would like to add your course to the Sona system by emailing
  2. Inform the students enrolled in your courses about the requirements and options for completing the requirements (either in the syllabus, on a course website or through a class handout). 
  3. Use the course reports produced by Sona to give students the appropriate required or extra credit points.

Policy for instructors


Detailed Instructions for Researchers

Researchers (faculty and graduate students) in the College of Education and Human Sciences can use the Sona System to recruit subjects for both online and lab studies. Sona Systems is used by over 900 universities around the world to manage their subject pools and is in compliance with ethics standards for research with human subjects.


Researchers who participate in Sona must include the approved procedures for the Sona subject pool in their IRB application (verbiage of a sample statement is included in Appendix B of the Researchers Policy attachment) and must have IRB approval prior to participating in the recruitment pool. Upon obtaining provisional approval from the IRB, researchers must contact the Sona administrator at to register their research project and gain access to the Sona System. Once researchers are registered, the Sona administrator will notify the IRB so that full approval for the project may be granted. Researchers are obligated to accurately record which students participate and enter this information into the Sona System so that instructors may assign the appropriate credit to participating students. 


Policy for researchers


Detailed Instructions for Students

Students in a course utilizing the Sona System should refer to their class syllabus for information on the number of credits that are required or offered as extra credit for the course. To access your account and current studies, students should go click here and use the login information emailed from the Sona System. Login information will be sent during the second week of classes. It is also important to note that the College of Education and Human Sciences Sona System and the Department of Psychology Sona System are not related, so students must complete studies from the College of Education and Human Sciences Sona website to receive credit for their course. If you have questions contact the Sona administrator at


Important Note: There are four Sona Systems at OSU. One is for the College of Education and Human Sciences, one is for Department of Psychology and there are two within the Spears School of Business. These systems are not linked. The login page MUST say College of Education and Human Sciences. To ensure proper credit, make sure you are using the correct system.

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