Extra Credit Opportunities

The Department of Communication Studies uses an online Research Participation System to manage extra credit research participation. If one or more of your CMS courses offers extra credit, and you are a first time student user follow the instructions below to sign up for extra credit research participation opportunities. If you would like to earn extra credit, but do not want to participate in research check your course syllabus or contact your course instructor for alternative extra credit assignment.

Click here to access the Communication Studies Research Participation System. New studies will be posted throughout the semester. Check back regularly.

Scholarly discovery and innovation depend, in large part, on the research methods used to obtain them. Thus, an exposure to research and research methods is an experience that is valuable to understanding the discipline of Communication Studies. The Communication Studies Department (CMS) encourages each student enrolled in our courses to gain familiarity with and an appreciation of the aims, methods, problems, and results of research. To support students in gaining this research knowledge, many Communication Studies courses offer extra credit to students who participate in research conducted by CMS students and faculty. However, no student is required to participate in a research project and not all instructors offer extra credit. Students should first refer to the syllabus and contact instructors to determine each instructor's policy on extra credit.

If your instructor offers extra credit to students enrolled in the course, there are typically two options the student has for completing the extra credit:

  • a research paper option or
  • the research participation option.

If the instructor offers extra credit, it will be listed in the syllabus.

Data collected by CMS researchers is studied without personal identity attached to it. Any identifying information needed to give instructors' information about a student's participation in a study will in no way and at no time be associated with any student responses recorded during the study.

Frequently Asked Questions (for Students)

Download the FAQ for the Communication Studies Research Subject Pool

Account Information

How do I log into the Research Participation System?

All students enrolled in a CMS course that is offering extra credit will have an account created for them.  If this is your first time using the system, all you need to do is click on the link to SONA above; click on "click here to retrieve it" under "Lost your Password."  Enter your UTEID (which we used as your User ID). An email with your temporary password will be emailed to the email address that you have listed with UT-Austin. Follow the directions in that email to log in. If you have used the system in a previous semester, your account should still be active and you should be able to use your old password.

What if I lost my password?

If you have forgotten or do not have your password, you may choose to have your password emailed to you. You will see an option on the front login page titled “Lost your password?” Your password will be emailed after you submit the form, and should arrive in your email box momentarily. If you provided an alternate email address, it will be sent there. Otherwise, it will be sent to your main email address.

How do I change my password?

If you would like to change your password or other information about yourself, choose My Profile from the top toolbar. If you would like to change your password (and the option is enabled), type your new password (twice, for confirmation) in the provided boxes. If you would not like to change your password, simply leave these boxes empty. If you change your password, please be sure to select a password you do not use on any other systems or websites. This is good computing practice, and especially important as in some cases, our password may be sent over email.

How do I change the email address where email notifications from the system are sent?

If you want notifications to go to a different account, you can provide an Alternate Email address under My Profile in the Research Participation System.

Participating in Studies

Viewing Studies: How do I see what studies are available?

After you log into the system, you can view a list of studies, by clicking on Studies from the main menu or top toolbar. If necessary, select "view all." You will see a list of studies. A brief description of each study will be listed, as well as any special requirements that may restrict your eligibility to participate in the studies. Studies that currently have available participation times (timeslots) will have “TIMESLOTS AVAILABLE” listed next to the name of the study. If no studies have available timeslots, you may want to logon to the system a few days later to see if new timeslots have been added. You may also select a specific date to view studies with available timeslots on that date. To view more information about a study, click on the name of the study.

When can I start to participate in research studies?

You may begin participating in research studies as soon as one is available in the research participation system.

What is the last day I can participate in research studies?

Each research study has its own particular starting and completion date for student participation.  However, no studies in the department will have completion dates later than the last day of classes.

How do I sign up for studies?

To sign up to participate in a study, find the study you would like to participate in (see Viewing Studies in this documentation). Click on the study name for more information. You will see a list of any special restrictions or eligibility requirements, as well as a contact person if you have questions about the study. If the study has a principal investigator listed, you can click their name to view full contact details. In most cases, it is preferred to contact the person listed as the researcher if you have specific questions.

What if I need to cancel? (or what if I can't make my scheduled timeslot)

If you need to cancel a timeslot you have signed up for, you can do this from the My Schedule and Credits page.

  1. Choose the My Schedule/Credits option from the main menu or top toolbar. You will see listed all the studies you have signed up for, as well as those you have completed (see the Tracking Your Progress section of this documentation for more information).
  2. Studies you have signed up for that you are allowed to cancel will have a Cancel button next to them.
  3. Once you click Cancel to cancel your sign-up, you will see a confirmation page. You will also be warned if your cancellation might affect your ability to participate in other studies you have signed up for, due to pre-requisite restrictions. If the cancellation will affect your ability to participate in another study you are signed up for, it is your responsibility to deal with this issue (usually by canceling the dependent study as well). The system will warn you, but will not block the cancellation.
  4. Click Yes to cancel your sign-up, and the sign-up will be cancelled immediately. If you cancel the first part of a two-part study, the second part will also be cancelled. If you cancel the second part of a two-part study, the first part will not be cancelled, but you will need to ask the researcher to sign you up for the second part again, if you would like to participate in it at a later date.
    Please note: There is a time limit before the study is to occur, when it is too late to cancel. This restriction may be listed at the bottom of the page, or can be found by clicking on the study name and viewing the study details.

I noticed that with some studies, I could sign up for them again even if I participated before, while others don’t allow for this. Why is this?

Researchers can choose if their studies allow you to participate more than once. Not all studies allow you to participate more than once.

I attempted to sign up for a study, and I was prevented from doing so because the study I was trying to sign up for is a disqualifier for another study I am scheduled to participate in. Why is this?

If you have signed up for a study that has disqualifiers (studies you must not have participated in to participate in that study), you may not then sign up for the studies that are listed as the disqualifier studies. You are allowed to sign up for the disqualifier studies if the disqualifier study will take place after the study with disqualifiers, or if you have already participated in (and received credit for) the study with disqualifiers. The easiest way to sign up for both studies is to schedule the disqualifier study at a time later than the study with disqualifiers.

Tracking Your Progress

How can I track how much extra credit I earned?

You may track your progress at any time by choosing the My Schedule/Credits option. When you view this page, you will see at the top a list of the number of research participation credits you can earn, and how many you have earned so far. You may also have an option to view how many credits you have earned for each course. Below that, if you have signed up for any studies, those are listed as well. In the list of studies, you will see information about your credit status.

How many points of extra credit do I get for each research study?

The amount of extra credit you can earn depends on the professor. You’ll earn 1 research participation credit for each 60-minute study (or 0.25 research credits for 15 minutes). Each instructor determines how much extra credit one student can earn and how much for each study. Refer to the course syllabus or contact your instructor for the amount of extra credit you can earn.

How long does it take for my extra credit to be reported to my instructor?

Researchers are required to report extra credit in the research participation system by the last regular day of classes; however, typically extra credit participation is recorded within one week of your participation. The research participation system administrator will then report the extra credit participation to instructors before final exams begin.

When will the extra credit get added to my grade?

After the last regular semester day, we’ll send a report to your instructor with your research participation credits for that course. Each course has a different deadline for submitting final grades, so your extra credit will get added to your grade at different times.

What do I do if there is a mistake in the reporting of extra credit?

The researcher must grant you credit. A research participant should keep the contact information of the researcher until the instructor has recorded the extra credit. If a mistake has been made you, please contact the researcher before the last regular day of classes to determine how the error has occurred and remedy the problem. Let your instructor know that you have contacted the researcher.

I participated in a study, but I have yet to receive credit. How do I receive credit?

Please give researchers a few days to upload participation credits. If it has been some time since you participated in the the study, please contact the researcher leading the study before the final day of the semester. Your instructor does not know in what studies you participated.

When will the extra credit get added to my grade?

After the last regular semester day, we’ll send a report to your instructor with your research participation credits for that course. Each course has a different deadline for submitting final grades, so your extra credit will get added to your grade at different times.

What if I want to earn extra credit but don't want to participate in studies?

Check your syllabus for details on alternative extra credit opportunities (for CMS courses that offer extra credit)

Technical Questions

Immediately after I login, as soon as I click on any menu option, I am taken back to the login page and I see a message that my authentication has expired. What does this mean?

Your web browser is not properly configured to accept cookies. You should turn on cookies in your web browser, use a different web browser (for example, try Firefox if you are currently using Internet Explorer), or try a different computer. Detailed instructions can be found if you go to the site and enter the url “cookie_help.aspx” in place of “default.aspx” in the address bar of the browser, when you are on the front page of the site.  Another easy thing to try is simply to use another computer. Usually the computers in university computer labs are configured correctly.

Who can see the information about my sign-ups? I don’t want everyone to know which studies I signed up for.

Only the researcher and principal investigator of the study may see that you have signed up for it, along with the subject pool administrator. No other users, including other researchers or your instructor, may see this information.

If you have any issues with the system, please email cmsresearch@austin.utexas.edu