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Psychology Department Subject Pool Information

Researchers using the Subject Pool must follow a variety of procedures to aid in the efforts to conduct ethical research. The first step a researcher must take is to become familiar with these procedures. At the beginning of the fall semester a subject pool meeting is held to explain these procedures. All researchers coming into contact with the Subject Pool must attend this meeting. Attendance at this meeting makes you eligible to use the Subject Pool for one year. Anyone unable to attend this meeting will have the opportunity to check out a video from the Reserve desk at the library and certify their understanding.

How are Subject Pool studies conducted?

First, researchers must have a current Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) certification on file with the University of Memphis Institutional Review Board (IRB). Details for this certification are available on the University of Memphis IRB website (

Next, any study conducted by the Department of Psychology at the University of Memphis must first be approved by the IRB. Once the researcher receives an IRB approval notification, the study may be submitted to the Psychology Department’s Subject Pool that is administered through a web based program called the Sona System. As a researcher this system allows you to post information about your study, to schedule appointments with participants, to contact participates who have signed up to participate in your study, and to administer online surveys. All studies submitted to the Subject Pool for inclusion in the Sona System must be accompanied by the IRB Approval, and the IRB Approval Number must appear in the description of all studies on the Sona System.

Can I prescreen participants?

Occasionally some researchers are looking for participants to meet certain criteria. Researchers with screening materials will work with the Subject Pool lifeguard at the beginning of each term (semester). All pre-screening will take place during the first four weeks of each semester. To ensure that time is apportioned appropriately across multiple screening items, and to ensure that a reasonable amount of time is allowed to complete all prescreening instruments (typically one hour or less total).  Individual prescreening surveys and inventories should be brief, taking no more than 5 minutes to complete.

As a researcher can I collect data in Psychology Department classrooms?

You must have IRB approval to collect data (prescreening data or research data) in classrooms. This approval must include procedures for protecting privacy and confidentiality (please be especially aware of this in large auditorium classes). IRB approval does not require the instructor of record to allocate class time for data collection. The instructor has the right to refuse to allow data collection for any reason. We ask that all researchers be respectful of our instructor’s decision.

What paperwork and information do I need?

Sample copies/templates have been provided for your convenience to help make using the Subject Pool a little easier: 

What paperwork and information do I need?

Sample copies/templates have been provided for your convenience to help make using the Subject Pool a little easier:

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Last Updated: 11/20/14