The Research Participation Scheme: IMPORTANT CHANGES 2015-2016


As of 15th September 2015, following approval from the Undergraduate Programme Board, some aspects of the Research Participation Scheme have been revised.

These revisions will be implemented for Semester 1 of the Academic Year 2015/2016.

Students who were familiar with the previous version of the Research Participation Scheme (Year 2 and Year 3 students) need to pay special attention.

The revisions are as follows:

1) Different Numbers are Used

The numerical basis of the Research Participation Scheme—that is, the number of credits awarded per hour of participation—has been modified. In general, you will see larger numbers than before.

However, the number of hours you need to spend taking part in psychology studies has remained roughly the same. That is, although the overall number of credits you need to obtain has increased, so too has the number of credits you will receive for each hour of participation.

2) Lab studies Get More Credits than Online Studies

The reason for changing the numerical basis of the Research Participation Scheme the was to award relatively more credits for taking part in lab studies, and relatively fewer credits for taking part in online studies.

There were a few reasons for this change. First, researchers—including Year 3 Project students—had trouble recruiting enough participants for their lab studies. Second, now that participants for online studies can be easily recruited via online crowdsourcing, it is a better use of Research Participation Scheme to recruit participants for lab studies. Third, participants themselves deserve more credits for taking part in lab studies. This is because they have to physically turn up at a particular location at a particular time, or interact with technical apparatus, or perform some other complex procedure. In contrast, online studies often present straightforward questionnaires, which are easy for participants to fill out, including at a time and place of their choosing.

Basically, you now get one-and-a-half times as many credits for taking part in a lab study as for taking part in an online study.


For lab studies, you receive 1 credit for every 5 minutes of participation, or 12 credits per hour).
For online studies, you receive 1 credit for every 7.5 minutes of participation, or 8 credits per hour).

What this means concretely is that you can complete your credit quota more quickly by taking part in lab studies than by taking part in online studies. In particular, a participant doing only lab studies would complete their quota in two-thirds of the time that it would take a participant doing only online studies.

3) 40:60 Split of Credit Quotas by Semester

Another revision responds to fact that Semester 1 tends to see a surplus of studies and a shortage of participants, whereas Semester 2 tends to see a shortage of studies and a surplus of participants.

This is mainly because it takes time for 150+ Year 3 students to devise, prepare, and get ethics approval for, the studies that they run for their Year 3 Empirical Projects using the Participant Pool. Many studies are not ready in Semester 1. And when they become ready in Semester 2, they compete heavily for participants.

Hence, participants now have to obtain fewer credits overall in Semester 1 (40%), and more credits overall in Semester 2 (60%) in Semester 2. These means that the overall credit quotas for Semester 1 and Semester 2 are now different.

4) Changes to Modules Linked to Credits in Year 3

A final revision has been that the number of modules in Year 1 offering marks for research participation has been increased to six, to match Years 2 and 3), which modules offer it has been revised. This information is relevant to students repeating Year 1.


Here is how credits are now being awarded as part of the Research Participation Scheme. (Note: Single-Honours Psychology students generally do three modules per semester that offer marks for research participation; so multiply by 3 to compute the total quota here.)

Credit Awards by Study Type:

Online studies:8 credits per hour (1 credit per 7.5 minutes)
Lab studies:12 credits per hour (1 credit per 5 minutes)

Credit Quotas per Module:

Semester 1

Year 1: 24
Year 2: 16
Year 3: 8

Semester 2

Year 1: 36
Year 2: 24
Year 3: 12

Time Required per Module (all online; all lab):

Semester 1

Year 1: 3 hrs ; 2 hrs
Year 2: 2 hrs ; 1 hr 20 mins
Year 3: 1 hr ; 40 mins

Semester 2

Year 1: 4 hrs 30 mins ; 3 hrs
Year 2: 3 hrs ; 2 hrs
Year 3: 1 hr 30 mins ; 1 hr

Marks Awarded per Module

Year 1: 2.5%
Year 2: 2.0%
Year 3: 1.0%

How Many Research Credits Do I Need?

Here is how to figure out your research credit quota each semester, whatever type of student you are.

Step 1:
Check which modules award marks for research participation (RP).

Step 2:
Count how many of these modules are in Year 1, in Year 2, or in Year 3.

Step 3:
Check which semester you are in.

Step 4:
Do the math!

In addition, a Credit Computation and Tracking Utility is available here.

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