Subject Recruitment Policies and Procedures

General Policies and Procedures

These policies and procedures apply to the recruitment of research subjects through the Department of Psychology at Drexel University from among the student body via our electronic presences, our laboratories, or lecture halls. Research protocols that have not been fully approved by the Drexel Institutional Review Board (IRB) are not eligible for recruiting participants from Psychology Department courses. Approval to recruit does not convey any endorsement on the part of the Department of Psychology.


All research conducted in the Department of Psychology at Drexel University on campus or online, which involves our students, faculty, or staff, requires adherence to the ethical guidelines of the American Psychological Association and the full approval of Drexel University's IRB.

Instructor Discretion

All aspects of recruitment from Psychology courses is at the discretion of the course instructors, which includes, but is not limited to, extra credit, record keeping, and scheduling. Instructors are free to decline involvement in any study.

Required Departmental Approvals

Recruitment from classes requires the documented approval of the course instructor. If the SONA system is used, then recruitment also requires the approval of the SONA coordinator in the Department of Psychology. Approvals are not automatic.

Awarding of Extra Credit

The course instructor may approve the awarding of extra credit for student participation in research. Department policies require this to be uniformly awarded across all participating courses in the Department as follows:

  1. Each half-hour of participation may earn 1 extra credit percentage point over the entire course.
  2. The maximum extra credit that may be earned is 4 percentage points in a course.
  3. Research that requires more than two hours of participation shall only offer the maximum of 4 extra credit percentage points.
  4. Research participation extended across terms may offer up to 4 extra credit points per term.
  5. If students have the opportunity to earn extra credit for participating in a research study, the course instructor must offer an alternative way of earning a comparable amount of extra credit that does not involve participation in research, or allow students to complete the alternative extra credit assignments provided on SONA systems.

Protocols may offer payment or other approved remuneration or other non-course related incentives in addition to extra credit. Credit for participation shall be recorded in full at the time a subject shows up. Documentation of the student's participation is noted through SONA Systems and is distributed to the course instructor via email no later than the final week of classes in that term. Extra credit cannot elevate a grade above 100%. Any disputes regarding the assignment of extra credit will be resolved using the University policies regarding the assignment of grades.


A Principal Investigator (PI) who is also a course instructor or Teaching Assistant (TA) cannot recruit research participants from a course s/he is teaching. Classroom recruitment usually consists of a presentation by the PI or a member of the research team, along with an approved handout that contains contact information, schedules, and research details. Neither the Psychology Department nor the course instructor are permitted to assume any responsibility for scheduling, directions, or any other form of subject contact.

Access by Extra-Departmental Researchers

The Department of Psychology provides research experiences for its students primarily as a pedagogical opportunity and not as a pool for general research. As such, research protocols that are primarily psychological in nature and that have psychology faculty/graduate students as PI are afforded preference. Investigators who are not members of the Department of Psychology must have a co-PI or consultant who is a member of the Psychology Department on the research project to be eligible to recruit from Psychology Department courses. And these individuals must also have an approved Drexel University IRB protocol and conform to other policies for recruitment stated within this document.

Adjudication and Appeals

Students who are not able to resolve disagreements regarding extra credit for research participation at the Instructor level may appeal to the Undergraduate Director, as is normally provided by usual academic procedures. If the Undergraduate Director withholds permission for an otherwise apparently complete protocol, an appeal may be made to the Department Head, or in the case of a conflict of interest, to the Director of the Doctoral Training Program. Under no circumstances is there an appeal to overturn the decision of an individual course instructor not to allow recruiting of participants from his or her Psychology course.

Courses Eligible

The Department of Psychology Subject Recruitment Policies and Procedures are to be included in documentation made available to all sections of PSY 101, 111, and 112. Psychology 101, 111, and 112 sections are automatically enrolled in SONA systems to allow students to participate in research, but individual instructors may choose whether to create their own alternative extra credit assignments in lieu of those offered on SONA systems.

Research Extra Credit Information Provided to Students

Text related to the Department of Psychology's Subject Recruitment Policies and Procedures should be included in the syllabus of any course providing extra credit to students for volunteering to participate in research. This text will be distributed to course instructors at the start of each term by the SONA systems coordinator for inclusion in the syllabus.

Approved by Psychology Department Faculty Meeting 3/13/9; Revised 9/21/98, 12/5/05, 8/09