Participant Rights and Responsibilities

Wagner College Department of Psychology Participant Pool Participant Rights and Responsibilities

If you agree to serve as a research participant, this document will describe your rights and responsibilities for satisfying the Research Requirement through participation. Most of what you learn in your psychology classes is based on carefully conducted research with human volunteers. Participation in research gives you a first-hand glimpse into the research enterprise that uncovers the explanations for human behavior.

  • Obtaining Credits: Credits are gained by participation in research projects. One credit is given for 30 minutes or less of participation. Two credits are given for 31-60 minutes of participation. Three credits are given for 61-90 minutes of participation.
  • Right to Refuse Participation in Research: Participation in any research investigation is voluntary. When you arrive for participation, the researcher will provide you with a brief description of the project. At that time, or at any time during participation, you have the option of withdrawing without penalty. You should be aware that it is occasionally necessary to withhold some information about the purpose of the research until your participation is complete so that an accurate appraisal can be obtained.


  • Scheduling appointments for research projects.
  • Showing up on time for your scheduled research appointments and waiting at least five minutes for the experimenter.
  • Canceling no later than 2 hours before an appointment if you cannot attend the appointment.

SHOW UP ON TIME:  You must show up on time and wait at least 5 minutes for the experimenter. If you are more than 5 minutes late, it is the same as missing an appointment. If you miss an appointment, you will lose the privilege of earning research credits by participating in studies.

To Cancel an Appointment: If you must cancel, then it is necessary for you to do so no later than 2 hours before the scheduled experiment. Use the Experiment Management System to cancel an appointment. It is your responsibility to cancel an experiment that you cannot attend.

Experimenter Not Present:  If you arrive at a research appointment and the experimenter is not present, wait for at least 5 minutes. If the experimenter does not arrive you may report the experimenter’s missed appointment to the Participant Pool Administrator. You will receive one research credit for arriving for the appointment.

Educational Experience:  Research participation should be a valuable educational experience for you. Following the completion of a study, you will be given an explanation of the purpose of the study and its potential impact.

Human Experimental Review Board Approval:  Any experiment in which you participate will have already been approved by the Human Experimentation Review Board. This insures that someone other than the experimenter has determined that the procedures for a study follow strict ethical guidelines. Any risks must be revealed to you prior to your consent to participate. Despite these safeguards, there are still wide variations in people’s reactions to the different kinds of tasks they are asked to perform in research studies. If you feel that you have been mistreated by the experimenter or asked to perform tasks that make you uncomfortable, remember that you have the right to leave any experiment at any time. If you leave an experiment before completing it, you will still receive credit for the time of your participation.

Act Responsibly:  Be conscientious in performing your tasks in each study. The research is important to the students and faculty conducting it, and your role is critical to the success of their efforts. Psychology as a science could not exist without the careful and responsible efforts of research participants.

Protection of Personal Information: Once you have signed up for a study on the Experiment Management System, researchers will be able to view your name, email address, phone number, and responses on the pretest questionnaire. Researchers must treat all information as protected, confidential information.

Complaints:  If you have a complaint about an experimenter’s behavior, please contact the Participant Pool Administrator, Dr. Mark Wagner, Report the following information: experiment name, time and date of the appointment, researcher’s name, and the nature of your complaint.

Policy Concerns:  If you have any questions/concerns about any of these policies, or about particular studies in which you have participated, you may contact the Psychology Department Human Experimentation Review Board Chair, Dr. Amy Eshleman, via email at or by phone, 718-420-4278.

Adapted with permission from the University of Kansas.