Alternative Assignment for Research Participation Credits

Winter 2019 - Psychology Department Participant Pool

Alternate Assignment for Research Participation Credits

  • Sunmission Deadline: The deadline for submitting alternate assignments is April 5 at 5 PM.
  • Grading: Assignments will receive a pass or fail (each assignment is worth one course credit).
  • Grading Deadline: Assignments will be graded and credits posted to Sona by April 8 at 5 PM.
  • All inquiries about alternate assignments should be addressed to YOUR COURSE INSTRUCTOR AND TAS DO NOT READ NOR GRADE ALTERNATE ASSIGNMENTS.

Participation in research studies has been an important part of the Psychology Department’s curriculum for decades. Participating in a research study gives you first-hand experience with the research process and the science of psychology. Participation also enables you to actively contribute to the success of ongoing research at the University of Guelph.

Participation in research should be voluntary. If you do not want to participate in research, you have the option of completing alternate assignments to satisfy the research-participation component of your course. Completing alternative assignments involves reading one of the research articles from the Approved Article List below, and then sending a 400-500 word written summary and critique of the article to the Participant Pool administrators at Each alternate assignment you complete satisfactorily is equivalent to a 1 credit research experiment. You may complete as many assignments as needed to fulfill the research participation component of your course, although you must select a new article from the approved list each time. You are also welcome to fulfill the research participation component of your course using a combination of alternate assignments and participation in studies.

Your summary and critique should describe:

  • The background and purpose of the study.
  • The methods used in the study, making sure to note the specific hypotheses tested, and any independent and dependent variables.
  • The key findings and implications of the study. We do not expect you to fully understand all of the statistical tests as many of these tests are only taught in upper year courses. Based on the authors’ discussion of their results, however, you should be able to identify the key findings and how this article contributes to the field of psychology.
  • Your personal assessment of the article. Were there any aspects of the research that you found particularly interesting or well executed? Were there any aspects that seemed weak or strange?

Mandatory formatting of your assignment:

  • Microsoft Word 2003 format (i.e., .doc) and Portable Document Format (.pdf).
  • 400-500 words.
  • Double spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, with 1 inch margins.
  • Assignments that do not meet the formatting requirements will not be graded.

Submitting your summary and critique:

  • E-mail your summary and critique to
  • The subject line must read “Alternate Assignment [Article title], course and section number”
  • Late assignments will not be accepted. The submission deadline is April 5 at 5 PM.
  • You will receive a confirmation of receipt within one week of submission.


  • The summary is graded by the administrators of the participant pool as being either satisfactory or unsatisfactory (i.e., pass/fail). If your assignment is graded as satisfactory you will receive 1 participation credit (i.e., equivalent to participating in a 1-credit research experiment). No credit is awarded for unsatisfactory assignments.
  • To receive a grade of satisfactory, the writing in your summary must be clear and easy to understand and the summary must address all of the points listed under the section “Your summary and critique should describe” above.
  • Late assignments will automatically be graded as unsatisfactory.
  • Once we receive your alternate assignment, you will receive a confirmation e-mail and a grade posted on Sona within one week.

Approved article list

Ariely, D., & Wertenbroch, K. (2002). Procrastination, deadlines, and performance: Self-control by precommitment. Psychological Science, 13, 219-224.

Gelstein, S., Yeshurun, Y., Rozenkrantz, L., Shushan, S., Frumin, I., Rother, Y., & Sobel, N. (2011). Human tears contain a chemosignal. Science, 331, 226-230.

Green, S., & Bavelier, D. (2003). Action video game modifies visual selective attention. Nature, 423, 534-537.

Larsen, J. T, & McKibban, A. R. (2008). Is happiness having what you want, wanting what you have, or both? Psychological Science, 19, 371-377.

Mazar, N., & Zhong, C. (2010). Do green products make us better people? Psychological Science, 1-5.

Santamaria, J. P., & Rosenbaum, D. A. (2011). Etiquette and effort holding doors for others. Psychological Science, 22, 584-588.

Troisi, J. D., & Gabriel, S. (2011). Chicken soup really is good for the soul: “Comfort food” fulfills the need to belong. Psychological Science, 22, 747-753.