The Social Science Human Subjects Lab Pool provides access to a large subject pool of undergraduate students for conducting “no more than minimal risk” research studies only (i.e., Exempt or Expedited Research Studies). We use a web-based human subject pool management software called Sona Systems in order for researchers to recruit participants.

In order to start using the HS Lab Pool to recruit subjects, researchers must:

  1. Obtain approval (IRB or UROP - see below for details) to recruit via the HS Lab Pool;
  2. Submit your approved documents, including a separate HS Lab Application*, to the HS Lab Pool for review and approval. *NOTE: A separate HS Lab Application form and HS Lab Recruitment Ad are required for each study you plan to run (even if they all fall under the umbrella of one larger study).
  3. Once approved, your researcher account will be enabled so you can access the HS Lab Pool System in Sona.
  4. Once logged in, you will be able to create your study in Sona. When you have finished creating your study and are ready for it to be approved, send an approval request through SONA to make your experiment visible to participants. The HS Lab staff will review the study to ensure that it is correct, and will notify you when it has been activated or if there are any questions.

REMINDER: Researchers who wish to recruit participants via the HS Lab Pool must provide compensation via course credit (only) at a rate comparable to their time spent (e.g., 1/2 credit for 1/2 hour of participation). If compensation will be provided by cash or other methods only (i.e., not course credit), the HS Lab Pool cannot be used as a recruitment method.



In an effort to streamline and facilitate review of human subjects research conducted by undergraduate researchers, the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) will now review and confirm Exempt research.  This change took effect with UROP's 2017 Fall Call for Proposals. In order to qualify for UROP review, the Lead Researcher (LR) must be an undergraduate with a Faculty Mentor/Sponsor.

Undergraduates conducting research should review the UROP Exempt Review Protocol Narrative to determine if their research qualifies as exempt research and is eligible for UROP confirmation. If yes, students must complete the UROP Protocol Narrative and submit it as part of their UROP Proposal.

If your research includes one or more of the following elements, your study cannot be reviewed by UROP and must be reviewed/approved by the IRB.

These include:

  • Research that qualifies for Expedited review;
  • Research that involves the following populations: prisoners; adults who may not be legally/mentally/cognitively competent to consent on their own behalf; individuals under the age of 18;
  • Research involving deception or incomplete disclosure;
  • Research involving access to or the use of Protected Health Information (PHI);
  • Research where subject identifiers will be collected (e.g., name, email address, cell phone number) along with sensitive information (e.g., illegal behavior, or sensitive themes such as sexual experiences, physical abuse, alcohol or drug use, undesirable work behavior, or other information that may be embarrassing or psychologically painful) that could place subjects at risk for criminal or civil liability, or might be damaging to subjects' financial standing, employability or reputation.



Follow the below guidelines for NEW or EXISTING IRB Protocols.

- For NEW Protocols: Complete and upload the Lab Ad Form along with your other documents (e.g., Protocol Narrative, Study Information Sheet, Consent Form) to your e-IRBAPP. Directions on how to submit a new HS protocol to the IRB for review can be found here:

- For EXISTING Protocols: Complete and upload the Lab Ad Form along with any other required documents (e.g., updated Protocol Narrative, Consent Form, Study Information Sheets) via an e-MOD Request. Directions on how to submit an e-MOD Request for IRB review can be found here:



Once you have received IRB or UROP approval, you will need to submit the following documents in order to request a Researcher Account to get set up in Sona Systems

  • HS Lab Pool Application Form (Note: This is an internal form that does not require IRB  or UROP review or approval.)
  • UCI IRB Approval Letter (for Expedited Protocols) or Confirmation Letter (for Exempt Registration) or UROP Approval Notification
  • Approved Protocol Narrative
  • Approved HS Lab Pool Ad
  • Approved Consent Form *or* Study Information Sheet (if waiver of written consent was granted)


Please send these documents to the HS Lab Pool staff for review at:

Once your documents have been reviewed and your account set up, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to log into Sona to set up your study.

Please review the Researchers Handout for guidance on what to do after your account has been set up.



You may continue to use the HS Lab Pool as long as you are: 1) approved to continue recruitment via the HS Lab Pool and, more importantly, 2) your protocol is in approved status.

If your study has EXPIRED, you cannot continue use of the HS Lab Pool for recruitment purposes. Your study will be suspended in Sona Systems and will be re-opened once you have provided us with your current IRB-approved documents for verification.



If you are interested in using space available in the HS Lab Pool suite, please contact us for available days and times at:



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