Throughout a student’s time at university, there are moments when one might teeter on the edge of the desired grade yet fall short. However, moments such as these may be avoided through the potential use of SONA.
SONA is an online study registration system that is located online and in the basement floor of the College of Media & Communication. The program has been steadily growing in terms of the number of active users since the pool has expanded to include Human Sciences research as well.
“The people who use SONA are conducting research, in order to get access to get the SONA participation pool they have to get IRB (Institutional Review Board) approval,” Kristina McCravey, the lab manager for the Center of Communication Research, said. “The majority of the studies inside of SONA are primarily researched by faculty or people working on their thesis/dissertations.”
At the beginning of the school year, all MCOM courses are included in the SONA pool, McCravey said. If professors or instructors do not want their courses included, they must reach out to opt-out.
There are a variety of reasons why someone may partake in a study, whether that be for extra-credit or to simply experience a true experiment as a test subject.
“The benefit for undergrads are first, the extra-credit opportunity, and secondly the reason it is called a student research pool is that students are given the opportunity to experience research first-hand,” Joshua Dunn, a doctoral candidate in the graduate program in the college of media and communication and part-time instructor, said.
There are a multitude of ways in which students may go about participating in SONA, with some being more time consuming than others for both sides.
“Survey data can be collected very quickly sometimes in a few days depending on the subject matter,” Dunn said. “Lab experiments are going to have a much longer run-time.”
Casey Montalvo, a graduate student at the College of Media and Communication, said she did SONA mostly for the extra credit.
“I usually took surveys if they were available because they were the easiest and most convenient,” she said. “If I really needed extra-credit, I would go to the labs to do the experiments they asked.”
Beyond being a bank for credit, SONA is an ample and useful tool for graduate students, she said.
“If you want to go into graduate school or to get a Ph.D., you are going to need to know how to phrase questions, how to make surveys, and other things,” Montalvo said. “Experiencing those things beforehand, the surveys and experiments prep you for how you want to go about doing your future research.”