Test Subjects Pool - SONA


Test subjects are often students from the BMS faculty. They can be recruited via the Test Subject Pool system SONA. To include your study in this system, you first need to submit your research proposal to the BMS Ethics Committee via the webapplication.  

The BMS faculty’s Sona test-subject system has two important functions: it makes it possible for bachelor students to gain experience as a test subject; and it enables researchers to carry out research. The BMS faculty considers it important for Psychology and Communication Studies bachelor students to gain experience of empirical research in the role of a test subject. In this way, they are introduced to various types of research and can better prepare themselves for their own research activities in relation to their field of study. Through this system, students contribute to the research carried out by bachelor and master students, and academic staff. The bachelor programme includes a test-subject requirement of 15 hours in total, 10 of which to be contributed during the first year of the bachelor programme (B1) and the remaining five hours during the second year (B2), and by the third year (B3) at the latest.

Students can fulfill their test-subject obligations by participating in the research projects put forward by academic staff and students via the Sona test-subject system (Sona Systems). Students can use the system to register for research and receive so-called test-subject credits in return for their participation. For more information on the system, see The Sona test-subject system is coordinated by the research secretary’s office (Marcia Clifford, Cubicus room C243A, tel. (053) 489 3423, email: In conjunction with the secretary’s office, the test-subject pool offers academic staff and students an efficient method of recruiting test subjects for their research.


Various rules apply to the recruitment of test subjects for your research. These rules are listed below.

Procedures and rules for the recruitment of test subjects using SONA
  1. Firstly, the research proposal must be evaluated and approved by the faculty’s Ethics Board. You may apply for an evaluation via the faculty’s Ethics Committee (EC) website, by filling in the web application. 
    As part of the web application, you will be asked if you wish to make use of the Sona test-subject system (Sona Systems) to recruit participants to carry out your research.
    If the research proposal is approved by the faculty’s Ethics Board and if you provided the seperate form to the secretary's office, you can make use of Sona Systems to recruit test subjects. You will receive an e-mail concerning this from the secretary’s office of the test-subject pool (Marcia Clifford, tel. (053) 489 3423,, along with your Sona Systems account. Each student’s supervisor retains ultimate responsibility for the student’s account. Always make sure, therefore, that you yourself can gain access to the research carried out by a student.

  2. In MyTimetable you can see which activities are planned by students, so you can take this into account when planning your research. You may certainly not exceed the number of research minutes and/or hours stated in your application. Students can see from the number of points in Sona Systems the maximum time allocated for their research. 0.25 points equates to 15 minutes, 0.5 points to 30 minutes, 0.75 points to 45 minutes, etc.
  3. As a researcher, you may also choose to pay test subjects for their participation. The payment guideline is € 6.00 per hour. 
  4. Your Sona Systems account is only valid for the time period requested. To carry out further research, your account must be reactivated by the secretary’s office of the test-subject pool.
  5. Students can register with Sona Systems to take part in research. As a researcher, you can see in Sona Systems which test subjects have registered at what time. You can print out a list of these, which you will need for presentation control.
  6. Students may only carry out their research if the supervisor or their replacement is accessible during the research!
  7. While carrying out your research, make sure that you only make use of students that are registered for your research in Sona Systems, if necessary shortly before commencement of your research. You may not add participants to Sona Systems yourself; only the test subjects themselves may do this. If a student participates in your research without having registered with Sona Systems (you can check this by consulting the aforementioned list), you must alert the test subject to the fact that they will receive no test-subject points, because you are unable to fill in their credits!
  8. The allocation of test-subject hours to test subjects takes place by filling in credits in Sona Systems. This must be done within two working days of test subjects completing their test. After completion of a test, you should also give each test subject a test-subject note, as proof that they actually took part in your research. If a student reports for research at the correct time and the research does not go ahead, the student will still be credited with the scheduled number of test-subject hours.
  9. The number of test-subject hours allocated must not exceed the amount agreed and/or communicated by the secretary’s office of the test-subject pool.

SONA Manual: Test-subject system manual for researchers

In conclusion

The secretary’s office of the test-subject pool does not provide information concerning experiments that have taken place or are yet to take place, or information concerning the test subjects. The secretary’s office of the test-subject pool is only open to questions on procedural issues regarding the recruitment and treatment of test subjects.

Failure to comply with these rules will result in the supervisor’s suspension from taking part in the test-subject pool for a period to be decided.

Please include the assigned research number in all correspondence (also as the subject in e-mails).