Psychology Research Experience Program
The Psychology Research Experience Program (PREP) offers you the opportunity to earn course credit toward your grade by participating in psychology research studies. The program was developed for two reasons:
- Professors and graduate students do more than teach courses – they also conduct research studies, and they rely on students, such as yourselves, to take part in those studies.
- It is a great way for students to experience what it’s like to be a participant in research studies, to learn about how research is carried out, and at the same time to earn some marks towards the course.
In courses that include a PREP component, check your course syllabus to see exactly what percentage of your grade you can earn through PREP and whether this is a required part of the course or if it counts as optional bonus credit.
Note that the deadline to participate in studies for PREP is the official last day of class for the term. We recommend that you get started early – don’t leave it to the end of term or you may miss out on opportunities.
There are two types of studies, online and lab studies, and credits work differently for each of these.
For participating in lab studies, you will earn a half credit (0.5 credits) for every half hour of participation. For example, you will earn 1.0 credit for an hour-long study.
For participating in online studies you will earn a quarter credit (0.25) for every half hour of participation. For example, you will earn 0.5 credits for an hour-long study.
You earn more credits for participating in lab studies because many studies cannot be conducted online, so this provides extra incentive for you to participate in lab studies.
You can only earn a maximum of two credits a term through online studies. The rest of your studies must be done in lab. For example, if you are enrolled in two classes that require five PREP credits total, you can still only complete two of these credits via online studies and the remaining three must be completed in lab. Note that credits may not be updated right away.
The PREP TAs will communicate announcements in two ways:
- Your Laurier email address is connected to the PREP system, so if there are any important messages they will be emailed to your Laurier email address.
- Via the Announcement box on the login page of the PREP website. Pay attention to this box throughout the term because the PREP TAs will post important information from time to time (e.g., the date that the PREP pool is closing for the term).
How to Sign Up for Studies
- Go to the PREP website.
- Enter your user ID and password. Your user ID is your student number. If it is your first time logging in, you should check your MyLaurier email account for a randomly generated password that was sent to you by PREP at the beginning of the term. If you have any trouble signing in, email the PREP TAs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Change your password: Click “My Profile” on the top menu.
- Click on “Studies.” It will provide you with a list of studies you can participate in. Read the study descriptions to find a study you are interested in.
- Click on the study link. Click on the time slot that you want. If none of the time slots work for you, email the researcher.
- To view any studies you have signed up for, or to cancel any studies that you have signed up for, click on “My Schedule and Credits.” Please note that if you would like to cancel a study that you have signed up for, then you must do so more than 24 hours prior to the start of the study, otherwise you will be penalized (see "Participating in Studies").
The first time you log into the PREP system, you will be given the opportunity to participate in a prescreen questionnaire. This is a mass testing questionnaire from many different researchers in the Psychology department and is used to determine eligibility for some future studies. The prescreen takes 40-50 minutes and you will get 0.5 credits for completing it. You must do the entire questionnaire in one sitting, as you cannot resume once you have stopped.
The prescreen is optional but it's a good idea to participate because then you may be eligible for more of the studies offered later on. If you decline to participate, you will not see the prescreen questionnaire the next time you log in.
If you decline but still want to participate in the prescreen questionnaire at a later date, you can do so by logging into your account and clicking on "My Profile". You will then see a link labeled "Take Prescreen" at the bottom of the page.
Participating in Studies
Online studies are done on your own personal computer. You will be given the study link after signing up for the study. Please ensure that you complete the online study before the study’s participation deadline.
For in-lab studies, please make sure you arrive at the PREP waiting area on time. The PREP waiting area is located in front of the main psychology office (N2006). The researcher will meet you at the waiting area and take you to the room where the study is being conducted.
It is your responsibility to be at the waiting area on time; otherwise the researcher will record that you had an “unexcused no-show.” If you accumulate two unexcused no-shows then you will no longer be allowed to sign up for any PREP studies. You will, however, be able to keep any prior earned credits.
In order to avoid getting an “unexcused no-show”, please cancel any study participation at least 24 hours prior to the start of the study.
If you have missed a study (without canceling it beforehand) due to a medical or personal emergency, please email the researcher of the study first as they are in charge of giving out credits. If the issue remains unresolved after speaking with the researcher, you may email the PREP TAs at email@example.com.
Similarly, if you have any questions regarding a specific study please email the researcher. If you have general questions about the PREP system or your account then please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You should never email your professor about any PREP system issues.
As an alternative to participating in studies, you can earn credit by writing short critical reviews of journal articles. The reviews are graded on a pass or fail basis, and each critical review receives the same credit as participating in a one-hour in-lab study. Students may choose to do critical reviews for all or a portion of their PREP credits.
Guidelines and a list of acceptable journal articles to review are availble in the information sheet below.
Note that the deadline for submitting critical reviews is the same as the deadline for participating in studies (i.e., last day of class for the term).