Introduction to Sona – Research Participation Credits

If you are taking CGSC 1001 you will have the opportunity to have an “up close” look at cognitive science research through research participation studies conducted by Cognitive Science professors, graduate students, and honours thesis students from Carleton University’s Institute for Cognitive Science.

Research participation comes in several forms (i.e., lab studies, online studies, reading and writing about research articles). All are designed to foster understanding and appreciation of cognitive science research. Research Participation credits are worth 4% and count as bonus grades.

Participating in Cognitive Science Studies for Credit

At the beginning of the term when you are taking CGSC 1001, you will receive an e-mail containing your SONA login information and instructions explaining how to use the system to sign up for your  choice of Research Participation Studies. In order to see a list of the available studies, you will need to log into the SONA system at

There are two types of studies that you can sign-up for:

  • Lab studies (conducted in a lab, typically on campus)
  • Online studies (completed online from any computer).

Lab studies: For each 30 minute block that you spend participating in a lab study on campus, you will earn 0.5%. There is no cap (i.e., no limit) on the number of lab studies you can participate in up to the maximum of 4% towards your research participation credits.

  • (up to) 30 min lab study = 0.5%
  • 31-60 min lab study = 1.0%
  • 61-90 min lab study = 1.5%
  • 91-120 min lab study = 2% … etc.

Online studies: For each 30 minute block that you spend participating in an online study, you will earn .25%. There is a cap on the number of online studies you can participate in; you can earn a maximum of 3% (of the 4%) towards your research participation credits by participating in online studies. The remaining 1% can be earned by lab study participation or reading and writing about research articles for credit.

* The reason for the online cap is that we want to encourage students to experience a lab study which typically provides a richer and more interactive experience.

  • (up to) 30 min survey = 0.25%
  • •  31-60 min survey = 0.5%
  • •  61-90 min survey = 0.75%
  • •  91-120 min = 1% … etc.

Reading and Writing about Research Articles for Credit

An alternative way to earn your 4% research participation credits is by reading and answering questions about research articles (see your course outline for more details).

What is the last day that I can earn Research Participation Credits?

You will then have until the last day of classes for the term to earn your research participation credits (i.e., through Cognitive Science studies and/or alternative written assignments).

What if I have issues accessing my information or logging in?

Check your in-box and re-read your email that you received prior to contacting the SONA Administrator.

If you find that you are still having difficulty, then you can contact Steve Highstead, the SONA Administrator.  You can reach Steve by email at