Department of Psychology

Psychology Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE)

Last Day for Fall 2022 PURE Requirement Completion - Friday, December 9th, 2022 at 4:30 pm.

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Information for Students

In general education psychology courses (PSY 100, 221, 250, 251) you will be learning about many factors that interact to influence thinking and behavior. Just as in other scientific disciplines such as biology, chemistry, and physics, knowledge in psychology is obtained by conducting carefully designed studies or experiments. Much of what you will be learning in this class represents the findings of previous psychological research. To enhance your knowledge of research and methodology, and its relevance in the critical thinking process, we offer students the opportunity to participate in research in your general education psychology course. All 100- and 200- level general education psychology courses require 6 research (PURE) credits that you can earn by completing various research options. If you do not complete the research experience requirement, you will receive an incomplete in the course.

You will complete six research credits for each 100- or 200-level general education psychology course in which you are enrolled. You are expected to begin completion of your research experience requirement on the third Monday of the semester. You have at least three options for completing this research experience requirement. You will be able to complete the research experience requirement using any combination of options allowed by your instructor.

The first is being a research participant in an in-person or online study. Please read the following information carefully as it describes your rights as a research participant and instructions for participating.

Your Rights as a Research Participant

  1. Be aware that an ethics committee has reviewed and approved each study before anyone is allowed to participate to insure that volunteers are not mistreated.
  2. Before you participate in the study, the researcher will talk to you about the types of things that will occur during the study and you will be asked to sign a statement indicating that you have been informed of the procedures (i.e., informed consent).
  3. After you complete the study, the researcher will explain the purpose of the study you completed.
  4. You have the right to discontinue your participation in a study at any time without penalty.
  5. You have the right to expect the researcher to be professional in his or her conduct during the study. This includes the expectation that the researcher shows-up on time, conducts the study, and demonstrates appropriate respect and consideration to participants.

Instructions for Participating in Psychological Studies

  1. You will sign up for studies using Sona Systems ( Your login name is your WIU email address, and you will receive an email during the first two weeks of the semester with your password. Before signing-up for a study carefully read all the information to make sure you qualify for the study. NOTE: Be sure to record the study number, the researcher's name, the location of the study, and the date and time of the study on your personal calendar or notebook.
  2. Sona Systems will assign you a unique, numeric ID code (Sona ID). You will see this ID code when you view the Human Subjects Policy, when you update your profile, and in email confirmations and reminders about your upcoming study sessions. Bring this ID code with you when you go to studies or when communicating with researchers, as they know you only by your ID code, and not your name.
  3. Research credit is earned based upon the amount of time the study lasts and whether it is an in-person study or an online study.  Please refer to Summary of Research Options below on this page.
  4. Cancellation Policy: If you discover that you will be unable to attend a study for which you signed up you must cancel your participation for your scheduled study on Sona Systems at least 8 hours prior to the study. DO NOT contact your instructor or the psychology office to cancel your appointment time in a study.
  5. No Show Policy: After two no shows (unexcused absence – the student does not cancel the study sign-up and fails to contact the researcher in charge of the study) the student’s Sona Systems account will become Limited. With a Limited account, the student must complete the requirement using the instructor-approved research alternatives.

Aside from participating in studies, you also have other research options to earn PURE credits. The following lists all research options for earning PURE credits.

Note. Your instructor may have special requirements for completing these options. Please check your syllabus and ask your instructor regarding which options he or she has chosen.


  1. Participate in an on-line study, including but not limited to an online experiment or survey.
  2. Participate in an in-person study, including but not limited to an in-person experiment or survey
  3. Complete an Empirical Research Assessment (available by self-registering for the PURE course in Western Online).
  4. Participate in a simulated in-person or online study where no data are collected.
  5. Participate in an in-person or online assessment where no data are collected.

Note. One credit for each activity is awarded for 30 minutes of participation. ERAs are awarded 1 credit per assessment.

In-person studies are the ones for which you go to a study location (often in Waggoner Hall) at a timeslot you signed up for participation. On-line studies do not require your physical presence. You can participate in on-line studies from any convenient location with an Internet connection (e.g., your room in a residence hall).

All students enrolled in general education psychology courses with a PURE requirement should read the Psychology Undergraduate Research Experience Handbook and are responsible for knowing its content.

Early Completion Credits
Students can earn one (1) PURE credit by planning ahead.

  • Students can earn one PURE credit by completing at least half (3/6) of their credits by the end of the 8th week of classes.

What should I do if I have a problem or complaint?

  1. If the issue is about course credit for your research participation, see your instructor.
  2. If you have a complaint or concern about a study, contact the faculty member listed on Sona Systems for the study.
  3. If your issue is not resolved to your satisfaction, contact Dr. Lane chair of the Psychology Department, at 309-298-1593, or Dr. McGuire, Psychology Department Research Committee Chair at

NOTE: Students may continue to participate in research experiences after the closing date in order to complete the requirement or to earn extra credit in non-PURE course. However, there is no guarantee that the credits will be awarded in Sona Systems before the instructor must turn in grades. It is possible that after this date the student may initially be given an "incomplete" on his or her grades, which will then be changed over at the beginning of the next semester. Students who do not complete the requirement will have nine (9) weeks into the next semester before the incomplete grade automatically changes to an "F".