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Subject Pool: Instructions for Students

The Department of Marketing Subject Pool is designed to provide faculty and thesis student researchers access to student subjects. All students enrolled in MKTG 300 in the fall and spring semesters are required to complete 2 credit hours of research participation, to represent a maximum of 5% of their final course grade (credit/no credit basis). Some faculty in other departments (e.g., HRM) also allow their students to earn extra credit for study participation.

NOTICE: Due to the online class format mandated for spring 2021, all studies will be conducted totally online until further notice.

Questions about alternative options for the Subject Pool course requirement must be directed to your Instructor.

Before students register and sign up for research sessions, it is important to review the following instructions and warnings carefully (open all tabs below).

  • Users are also urged to view the Sona Systems YouTube tutorial for study participants (also embedded on the right).
  • Then, go to the Sona Systems site to start the registration process, as instructed below.


Register on the Sona Systems Site

Go to the Sona Systems site. Click on “Beach ID Login” on the left side of the opening page. Students MUST create their account using their Beach ID. Be careful that you (1) select the proper MKTG course and section or you will not receive course credit.

  • Once you log into the system with your Beach ID and password, you can sign up for studies.
  • The system will send you subject pool update messages and confirmation and credit granting messages for studies. All email messages will go to your inbox. [Check your Junk Folder if you do not receive confirmation from Sona Systems in your Inbox.]
  • Sometimes the system tags messages from the Sona System as "Junk". Users are urged to add this URL [] to their list of allowed websites and to set messages from * as "not junk."
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are enrolled in multiple courses that offer Subject Pool credit (e.g., MKTG 300, HRM 360), you must check all appropriate courses at the time of registration to ensure that you receive credit for all courses. Students can only receive credit for any single study in one course (i.e., the same study may notbe used for credit in more than one course).
  • If students are unable to register or to log on to the Sona Systems server from off campus (e.g., home, work (many companies block access to non-work related sites)), check out the help page on the use of cookies by the Sona Systems website. Or, use a computer on campus (check the CSULB website for information on building openings/closures). 
  • You need only to sign up and complete 2 studies to meet the course requirement for MKTG 300 (even if they are shorter than one hour in time). You get 1 credit for each individual study (up to 60 minutes).
  • There will be sufficient studies for students who register early in the semester that also signup for studies as soon as they become available. Students that delay registering or delay signing up for available studies may not be able to find two studies to earn full course credit.
  • All studies usually close during (or before) the 14th week of classes. You are advised to fulfill this course requirement early in the term to avoid a penalty or lack of choice of studies. Most studies are conducted for a very short period of time and end prior to the 14th week of classes. There is no guarantee that studies will be available late in the term.

Study Signups and Monitoring Your Credits and Available Studies

Students are responsible for managing all study participation tasks: i.e., signing up for and changing (canceling and signing up for different) session times. They are also responsible for monitoring study postings and earned credits. The Sona Administrator will not respond to messages such as, "When will another study be posted?" or "How many credits do I have?"

  1. You must sign up for a study BEFORE you can take part – that holds for online studies as well.
  2. It is against Subject Pool policy to "share" URL links with other students. That is, do NOT participate in an online study unless you are officially signed up for that study. If you fail to officially sign up for a study, you will NOT receive course credit – No Exceptions.
  3. Students claiming participation at the end of the term without a sign-up record on the Sona Systems' website will not be credited.
  4. Once you complete a study, credit will be awarded within 48 hours unless otherwise noted in the study description. If you participate in a study and do not receive credit, please contact the researcher responsible for that study (researcher email contact information is listed with each study).
  5. Students can check their credits by logging onto the Sona System server (via the Department of Marketing web site or the direct link,
  6. Typically, students are allowed to do only one (1) study that is conducted completely online, if and when available. However, due to the online class format mandated for spring 2021, all studies will be totally online until further notice. Typically, online studies must be completed within 72 hours of signing up for the study. Students are not permitted to “hold a space” for more than the 72 hour limit (unless otherwise stated in the study description).
  7. Note: The Sona Administrator and researchers do not have the authority to reassign students to specific sessions.

Cancelling a Study Session

You must cancel a study session no later than 2 hours prior to the scheduled session, unless otherwise indicated.

  • Students who do not show up for a scheduled session or to complete an online study by the deadline and fail to cancel that session prevent another interested student from participating.
  • If the researcher assigns a "no show" credit after you fail to appear at a scheduled session, you must log on to Sona and find another open session.
  • The Administrator does not reassign or monitor openings for students.
  • Students that fail to show up for a study (fail to complete the study by the set deadline) will not be allowed to sign up for the next study that is posted and not be guaranteed future study participation opportunities.
  • Students that fail to show up for two studies will be denied access to future sign ups. Those students must consult with their instructor about alternative options for the subject pool course requirement.
  • There are sufficient session openings during the term for all MKTG 300 students that register early in the semester - there are not endless studies or endless sessions.

Cheating and Sharing

NOTE: Any cheating or attempt to cheat on the Subject Pool requirement is treated the same way that cheating/plagiarism is treated as per COB and University policies regarding Academic Integrity.  In addition, "sharing" URL links for online studies violates Subject Pool policy.

Sona Administrator

The Sona Administrator manages the online system and insures that all user accounts are operating properly. He/she does NOT have control when studies are posted on the Sona website.

Thus, the Sona Administrator will NOT respond to messages asking about new studies, credits, etc.

All email messages sent to the Sona Administrator about technical issues MUST be sent from your account. Messages from other Internet provider accounts (gmail, yahoo, etc.) will not be read or replied to.

More Information on Sona Study Support

More information is linked to the Sona Systems web site. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation!