Study session (time slot) and cancellation guidelines

You should always check your University of Waterloo email account as important reminders and messages from researchers are sent through the system. Please note that depending on your settings that sometimes SONA email messages are delivered to your Spam folder, so please always check there. It has also been noted that SONA will not deliver to some email accounts, ie - Hotmail, so if you change the email address on your SONA account it is suggested to always check your uWaterloo email account.

Scheduling participation

For the Winter and into Spring terms there will be a resumption of  in person, face-to-face studies. In addtion, studies will continue to be run remotely and online. These 'remote' studies may include an interview/conversation with the Researcher via a platform such as MS Teams. However, certain types of studies may use a different procedure. For studies where the researcher would like you to participate in a group with other students, they may need to contact you to schedule the session instead. This is because of the need to coordinate the schedules of the various participants in the session. If scheduling is to be done by telephone or via a platform such as MS Teams, this will be clearly stated in the study description.

These studies often post one time slot for the end of the term, and then e-mail you to schedule a time once you have signed up for that time slot to indicate your interest in participating. You should then check your e-mail for a message from the Researcher to arrange a convenient time to participate. The Researcher should then create a time slot for that time and sign you up for it so that you can review the session under the "My Schedule/Credits" link. If this is not done within 24 hours of agreeing on a session time then you should contact the Researcher to ask them to do this, or contact the Research Experiences Group (REG) Coordinator.

Please be courteous and be available at the time of your time slot. If you know that you will not be available at the schedule time, please contact the Researcher and let them know. You must be on time for your session time or you will be marked as a "No Show". Failure to appear for 3 study sessions may result in denial of your access to SONA.

Researcher No Shows

Please make sure that you have the correct information for your scheduled timeslot. 

If, however, the Researcher does not show up please fill in the "Can't Find Your Researcher?" form.  

Canceling a time slot

Studies have a cancellation deadline, and you may easily cancel your session from the "My Schedule/Credits" link in SONA up to this deadline. If the deadline has passed and you need to cancel your session, then you should e-mail the researcher for the study. You can obtain the e-mail address by clicking on the name of the study and then scrolling down to the researcher contact information. If you do not contact the researcher to cancel your session before the time slot begins, then you will be marked as "No Show". Failure to appear for 3 study sessions without an excuse (unexcused no show) may result in denial of your access to SONA.

Researchers may also need to cancel your session on occasion. Researchers must give you 24 hours notice when canceling your time slot. Cancellation notifications will be sent via e-mail to the address in your profile on SONA. Therefore, you are responsible for verifying your time slot 24 hours (or sooner) before your session is scheduled.

Online studies

For the Spring 2022 all Sona study participation will be through online or remote studies. There is no limitation for the total participation credits that can be earned from studies. Mass Testing is considered an online study.

Some online studies can be completed as soon as you sign up for them. Other online studies will require a separate login and password that you will receive via e-mail from the researcher sometime after you sign up. Please check the e-mail account listed under "My Profile" for these important messages.

Online studies always have a deadline associated with them, which may be the end of the term. However, you should try to complete the study soon after you sign up for it so that you do not forget and miss the deadline. If you sign up for an online study but do not complete it by the deadline, then you will be marked as "No Show," so if you change your mind about completing the study then you should cancel your time slot (in the same way that you would cancel a regular session).


To earn your credit you must proceed to the end of the study/survey. The end of the study/survey always provides you with a Feedback/Appreciation Letter with a description of the study. You should save the file or print it off for your records.

Receiving credit

Participation credits for are awarded in increments of 0.25 for each 15 minutes of participation. A half hour study is therefore worth 0.5 participation credits, a 45 minute study is worth 0.75 participation credits, a one hour study is worth 1.0 participation credit, a 90 minute study is worth 1.5 participation credits, etc. Many studies pro-rate the remuneration. This will be clearly indicated in the SONA description and in the Information Letter.

Researchers should update your participation credits within 48 hours of your participation. Please do not contact the researchers or REG administrators about your participation credits unless it has been more than 48 hours since you participated. If your participation credit is not awarded within 48 hours of participation, please first contact the researcher for that study to ask them to award your credit. If your participation credit is not updated within 24 hours of that message then please contact the REG Coordinator. Don't forget to include your SONA Identity code in the e-mail (you can find this under the "My Profile" page on SONA).

You can also review these policies at any time under the frequently asked questions (FAQ) section on SONA.