Research in psychology fundamentally depends on human participants, who volunteer their time so that we might learn more about how humans function. This page includes procedures and tips for participating in or creating studies at Yale-NUS. Of course, all participant interactions, including recruitment and scheduling, must be conducted in a safe and ethical fashion.

Participating in a Study Using SONA FAQs:

Q1: What is SONA?

This is the Yale-NUS research participation system that students and faculty can use to setup and recruit participants for their own studies or participate in others’ studies. Some studies count towards the research participation requirement in Quantitative Reasoning or Introduction to Psychology; others can be completed for pay.

Q2: How can I sign-up for a SONA account? 

If you are a Yale-NUS or NUS student, you need only sign into the system here to create an account linked to your NUSNET ID. For those who are not students, you can request an account on that same page.

Q3: How will I get research participation credits for the studies I have participated in? 

For studies listed on SONA, you will be granted credits automatically by the researchers who are running it. For any external studies, you may email your professor proof of participation in the study and they will add your credits on the website manually.

Q4: Am I allowed to accept money for participating in a study?

If you have participated in a study in order to fulfill a module’s research requirements then you must indicate on SONA or to the researcher that you are participating for credits and not pay.

Q5: Can I only sign up for studies on SONA? 

No, you may sign up for external studies too (of course, this may vary depending on your professor and course requirements).

Creating a Study Using SONA FAQs:

How can I recruit participants for my study?

A listing on SONA (see next section) will bring some sign-ups, but it is often helpful to recruit specifically for your study as well. That can be done using Facebook or LumiNUS.

For each method, use only posters or sample advertisements that have been approved by the IRB or Yale-NUS CERC. These advertisements usually include a link to SONA and/or contact information.

  1. To use Facebook, post an approved poster or text-based advertisement.
  2. To use IVLE, login and go to the tab ‘Research Recruitment’ and click ‘create recruitment’. Note that the event will need the full one week (7 days) to be processed and that the event can stay on the page for a minimum 1 day and maximum of 14 days, so plan your timeslots on SONA accordingly.
  3. To use, first create an account with your NUS ID. On the right side of the the green bar at the top of the page, click “add job”. Please note that 1our limits you to a particular day’s timeslots (e.g. 4 May’s timeslots only), and has other oddities as well (e.g. “preferred timeslots”). It is probably better to simply post contact information rather than try to use their scheduling system, which you can do by changing the type of job (under Job Date/ Time) from “ad-hoc” to “part-time”.


Scheduling and management with SONA

SONA is a research participant management system, allowing participants to schedule themselves in studies that researchers create on the system. Anyone can sign up for a participant account, and a SONA administrator (most Psychology faculty) can add a researcher role to that account afterwards. Just ask.

The best way to learn about using SONA is to search for various support documents online. Here’s an example of what you can find.

We also have specific Yale-NUS policies and tips, which follow below.

Q1: Which types of studies can be listed on the Yale-NUS SONA system?
A: Our system allows for numerous study types, and the various options appear when you begin to create one. But the most important distinction might be between those for course credit and those for pay. Note that you must choose one (but see Q5 below) and that the system doesn’t allow modifications later. Please indicate the type in bold at the beginning of the study title: “PAID STUDY: “, “CREDIT STUDY: “, “PAID or CREDIT STUDY: “, or “CREDIT or PAID STUDY: “.

Q2: Can I use SONA for recruitment but not scheduling?
A: Yes. Doing so is often advisable for multi-session or otherwise complicated studies, at least beyond the first session. In the study’s description, include contact information, such as a link to a Google form or a study (not personal) e-mail address. So that potential participants know that your study has timeslots available, create a dummy timeslot far into the future and then set it to contain 999 sign-ups. Do remember to delete that timeslot when you no longer want additional sign-ups!

Q3: Who can complete studies for course credit?
A: Only students in Yale-NUS’ Introduction to Psychology* (YSS2201) can do so. The research pool in NUS Psychology is separate.

*Previously named Understanding Behaviour and Cognition

Q4: How do research points work on our system?
A: Students in Introduction to Psychology* (YSS2201) must complete 120 minutes of research as part of their course requirements. When listing a study for credit, set the number of credits to the anticipated length of the experiment. (That is, a 40-minute experiment should be 40 research credits.)

*Previously named Understanding Behaviour and Cognition

Q5: How exactly can I run a study that accepts either credit or pay signups?
A: SONA doesn’t allow a given study to be set up for either credit or pay, but you can work around this limitation by following these steps:

  1. Create a credit study and set the default research credits to the length of the experiment (see Q3). Don’t limit the study to certain “classes”.
  2. Begin the title with “PAID or CREDIT STUDY: “ or its reverse, depending on your recruitment priorities.
  3. State the amount for which the study can be completed for pay in the Brief Abstract. (For example, “Can be completed for $5.”)
  4. Provide more information in the Detailed Description about the payment options. (For example, “The experiment be completed for either $5 or 30 minutes of YNC research participation credit.”)
  5. Be clear about the desired payment before each study session starts. If the participant wishes to be paid in cash, grant them 0 credits for the experiment and then pay them as agreed.

Note: For any further queries about the SONA system please email our Student Associate and Lab Manager, Yoon Thiri ( or book a Zoom meeting with her ( during the following times:

Wednesday: 9am-12pm

Friday: 9am-12pm