For Participants/Students

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How to sign up for studies in the MBL for students/participants

The Mendoza Behavioral Lab (MBL) provides students with hands-on exposure to the research processes of a world-class university business behavioral lab environment. With the MBL, students may participate in studies, learn about the topics and goals of current projects, engage further in research as paid Research Assistants (RAs), and connect with expert Mendoza faculty members in their areas of business discipline.

To sign up for studies in the MBL, students must create an account on the SONA website: https://mcob.sona-systems.com Select “New Participant” at the bottom left of the screen to request an account. It is extremely important to assign the correct course and section number for each individual study. Reassigning SONA credits between courses and sections is not permitted beyond a student’s study participation date. One study cannot be used for more than one class, and online studies to not count toward the research requirement.

SONA points and credit allocation

Students earn 1 SONA point for participating in 30-minute research studies and 2 SONA points for participating in 45- to 60-minute studies. Grading is at the faculty instructor’s discretion, so the application of such points may vary across classes. Points should reflect a meaningful outcome for the students in each class. Different approaches can be taken to allocating credit.

Examples for study point allocations:

  • Specific exams/test in lieu of a homework assignment
  • Course credit for participation
  • Extra credit: converted to the relevant points


All students enrolled in Principles of Marketing and Principles of Management at the Mendoza College of Business are required to satisfy a research requirement for a total of 2 credits per class. There are two options to satisfy this requirement, which must be fulfilled in entirety. Students who complete 0 or 1 credit will not receive full credit.

Option 1: Participation in studies at the Mendoza Behavioral Lab

Students serve as subjects in academic research projects through the MBL. Common experiments include surveys, negotiations, and choice studies. Studies that run 30 minutes in duration earn 1 credit toward the requirement. Studies that run 45-60 minutes in duration are worth 2 credits. Participation can help students become better critics of research discussed in class, allowing them to refine their critical thinking skills. In addition, students receive exposure to the type of research conducted by their professors, which aids in furthering the knowledge that is a critical component of a great course. 

Option 2: Research review

A research review involves reading a scientific article related to the course and writing a 1-page summary that discusses how the findings of the research apply in actual organizations. The summary must be single-spaced, written in 12-point Times New Roman font with 1-inch margins. Students may select any article published within the last three years in a journal designated by the professor of the particular course. For further assistance, please contact a librarian at the Mahaffey Business Library in the lower level of the Mendoza College of Business. Please note that 1 article summary is worth 1 credit. 
Most students prefer to engage in Option 2. Email your review to the lab manager, by the last day of the MBL studies Lori Ehrman Tinkey (ltinkey@nd.edu) for the semester for grading and credit. You will receive a confirmation. 

Process overview

The MBL uses SONA Systems software to post available studies and invite student participation. Each time a student signs up for a study, he or she may select 1 course for which the study will earn credit. Students may not apply credit from a study to more than one class.  Students may participate in as many studies as they wish. SONA provides reports to instructors to detail which of their students has earned course credit for participation. 

All questions about the research requirement, as well as completed research reviews if you choose this option, should be sent to Lori Tinkey at ltinkey@nd.edu.

The MBL seeks to minimize the administrative burden on instructors in implementing the research requirement. To this end, the lab manager and research assistants handle the majority of administrative work so the time needed for instructors to record credit from studies is minimal. The lab tracks course credits and provides a report of participating students and associated course points earned at the end of each term.