Information for Researchers and Instructors

These are the guidelines for faculty and graduate students interested in using the Advertising Participant Pool. Please note that graduate students need a faculty sponsor in order to use the pool. Also note that although we will attempt to accommodate all student requests, we will prioritize dissertations, theses and conference papers over coursework-related projects. Studies will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis.

1. Before you do anything else, obtain approval from the UT Institutional Review Board (IRB) for use of human subjects. This approval is required and more information can be found at http://www.utexas.edu/research/rsc/humansubjects/.

Note that most studies can be filed under EXEMPT or EXPEDITED Application status. But current IRB approval times are running upwards of 5 weeks, so plan accordingly. Please make sure your IRB application includes a request to gather student names and EIDs. This information is needed to track student participation in the pool. Your in-department IRB representative is Dr. Michael Mackert. When you initially submit your study, it will first be forwarded to him; once he approves it, he will forward it to the IRB administrators.

Also see the "When Planning your Study" section below.

2. After you have IRB approval, complete the Participant Pool Use Application form. You will need to print the form, sign it manually, scan it and send it as a PDF - accompanied by a PDF of the IRB approval letter - to the Participant Pool Administrator, Dr. Robert Lewis at roblewis@utexas.edu. At this time, we cannot accept digital signatures - we need a PDF of the manually signed form. We will not accept hard copies, only electronic copies. Note: If you are a student researcher, you are required to have a resident faculty sponsor for the study. He/she must sign the application form and be copied (CC'd) when you email the application to Dr. Lewis.

3. It is the responsibility of the researcher(s) to gather (and share with professors) information about study participants, including Study ID and researcher's name, student name, UT EID and course for which they are seeking credit. We ask that you create an Excel file of these records for easy sharing with professors. It is also your responsibility to offer students directions on how to obtain a receipt for participation. This is of the utmost importance as poor record keeping and delayed sharing of this information is the number one reason why some faculty do not require research participation and thus support the pool.  These records are due to the professors two weeks before the last day of classes.

4. Each individual study posted on the pool must have a line in its consent form that informs students of their right to request an alternative assignment that is equivalent in time and effort and can count as a substitute for participation in your study. It is the responsibility of the researcher to provide such an option; this option is required by IRB and was most likely already addressed in your IRB approval process.

5. Once approved, each study will be assigned a unique Project ID# and a start date. For in-person studies, once a start date is assigned, the appropriate facilities need to be scheduled in advance.

6. Prepare a study description and supporting participation information for posting to the pool Website. This information should include the following:

  • Project ID # and Descriptive Title
  • Time(s), Date(s), and Location(s) or URL for Web-based Research
  • Duration of study Session(s) or Approximate Study Completion Times for Web-based Research
  • Your email address to be published on the Advertising Participant Pool Website (for participants to contact you on case of unforeseen circumstances affecting their participation or a credit discrepancy, etc.)

NOTE:These supporting materials should be sent to the Pool Administrator and Assistant via email at least one week prior to your scheduled start date so that it can be posted to the Advertising Participation Pool Website and course instructors can be notified. It is the researcher's responsibility to monitor recruitment for a given study.

7. Your study description will be posted to the Advertising Participant Pool Website. There, students in participating classes can sign up for or link to your study. If you have any questions concerning your study posting, please email the Pool Assistant.

8. You are responsible for monitoring the number of participants and updating the Pool Administrator on a continuous basis until the approved number of subjects is satisfied. Once the allocated responses are collected, your study will be terminated and the study posting will be taken down from the Pool website.

9. You must share with professors information about study participants, including Study ID and researcher's name, student name, UT EID and course for which they are seeking credit. We will request records from you each Friday (which we post on a Google Doc so students can track their progress) and then at the end of the semester. We ask that you create an Excel file of these records for easy sharing with professors. It is also your responsibility to offer students directions on how to obtain a receipt for participation. This is of the utmost importance as poor record keeping and delayed sharing of this information is the number one reason why some faculty do not require research participation and thus support the pool. If a researcher fails to submit complete participation and penalty records with professors in a timely fashion, Participant Pool privileges will be revoked for at least one semester. These records are due to the professors two weeks prior to the start of the final exam period.

1. A 30-minute time limit is suggested in order to maintain equity for students participating in the studies. If your study requires substantially more time, an extra incentive is recommended to attract student participation (e.g., Bevo Bucks, lottery ticket, gift certificate). You can also ask the pool administrator for permission to offer double credit to students.

2. You must follow IRB guidelines for informed consent. For most pool studies, participants MUST read and sign or otherwise acknowledge an Informed Consent Form prior to completing the study. These records must be retained by the researcher according to IRB guidelines. 

3. Again, for participants to receive pool credit, you must collect their names, UT EIDs, and the courses for which they are seeking credit. It is advised that you do this at the end of your study (either at the end of your online survey or at the end of your in-person session) to avoid unnecessary attrition.

Participants may only receive ONE credit for any study, and they can only request that credit for ONE participating class.

If participants do not show up for your study session for which they signed up, you must assign a ONE CREDIT PENALTY. If they cancel their appointment 24 hours before the study session time via email, no penalty should be given. Please share with the professors the names of no shows in an electronic format (e.g., Excel).

These steps are very important in ensuring students get proper credit. Please double check to make sure that all of their information is included in your records and that no participant has signed up twice. Please double check your penalty list re: students who did not attend the study session for which they signed up. It is the researcher's responsibility to guarantee that the information in both sheets is accurate. In the event that a student signs up for the same study twice (in order to receive credit in two classes), the student shall receive no participation credit toward either course. In the event that a student fails to show up for the scheduled appointment, the student must be assessed a penalty. Again, if a researcher fails to submit complete participation and penalty records with professors in a timely fashion, Participant Pool privileges will be revoked for at least one semester.

4. Researchers must also offer Participation Receipts at the close of their study sessions or at the end of their online survey. For in-person studies, please announce that receipts are available for anyone who would like one. For online studies, researchers typically include bold text at the end of the survey - before the submit button - telling students to print the last page of the survey, which includes their personal information. These receipts offer students recourse if a researcher keeps inadequate records. Please include your Project ID# on all receipts.

1. Provide participating faculty members and the pool director, Dr. Lewis, with electronic records (Excel files) of your participants and penalized students.

If, during your study, a student participant expresses a wish not to participate in your research, please record the student's name, email address, and class on a separate sheet of paper. Afterwards, please send this information by email to Dr. Lewis the Pool Administrator. You must also offer the student an alternative means through which he/she may earn the participation credit.

Make sure that no participant name appears on two different Participant Data Sheets for a single study. If one does, put a single line in red ink through the name on each sheet. This will alert course faculty that no credit should be given for participation and why. Failure to follow the procedure fully and correctly will result in the researcher's loss of Participant Pool use for one or more semesters.

2. To allow participating faculty to provide students with pre-final grades, access to the participant pool will not operate during the last two weeks of classes. All Participant Data Sheets must be submitted to the appropriate faculty members and the Pool Director two weeks before the last day of classes. Please use your assigned Project ID# on all correspondence and files.