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Parental ConsentFor Students | For Researchers | For 1101 Instructors

Subject Pool Access for Social Sciences 

What is the Subject Pool?


Background and Purpose

One of the most important goals of PSYC 1101 is to acquaint students with issues and methods of psychological inquiry, and one of the best ways to do this is engaging students in the process of research as participants. Our longstanding use of student participants in psychology has led to a large body of psychological literature based on the observations and behavioral characteristics of undergraduate students. Our science wouldn’t be where it is without you.


The SPASS is an administrative mechanism that (a) offers a convenient way for undergraduate students enrolled in PSYC 1101 to gain experience with a broad range of psychological research, and (b) furnishes faculty and some students in the Psychology Department with participants for their research projects. Student participation in SPASS is entirely voluntary. SPASS is designed to ensure that consistent and proper procedures are followed by all researchers for the protection of the participants. It also makes participation by students as easy and educational as possible. Every research study in SPASS must be individually approved by a GHC Institutional Review Board committee, or it must receive approval for exempt status from GHC IRB staff. Consequently, studies must be accompanied by a consent form or by an Information Statement. Also, some projects have signed consent/assent waived. Research sessions are conducted frequently including during the summer term.



SPASS is managed by the Subject Pool Coordinator (a psychology faculty member). The SPASS office is located in McCorkle Building on the Floyd Campus, F-146.


Who has access to SPASS? At this time, anyone may view approved studies, and students may send electronically based requests to sign up for participation in any available studies. However, faculty do not yet have the ability to directly input their own studies. As the College progresses in its use of a mandatory research component for PSYC 1101 students, we will purchase software that allows for direct faculty participation.


Students in PSYC 1101 courses may voluntarily participate in SPASS in return for credit in that class, which is pedagogically justifiable so long as participation is a learning experience. In essence, students enroll via webform. Study information including study name, description, credit amount, and investigator are provided on SPASS. The online program allows students to pick and choose the studies in which they would like participate. It is accessible 24 hours a day and offers up to date viewing of credit earned throughout the term. Further, SPASS provides participants with the contact information of researchers conducting particular studies.


Before a research session begins, its background, purpose, procedures, and any possible risks, stresses, or invasions of privacy are explained to the student. If the student wishes to participate, s/he then completes the Informed Consent process by signing a Consent Form or an Information Statement. A student may cancel participation for any reason (up to 2 hours in advance) and may withdraw from the research session for any reason at any time in the session without loss of benefits to which s/he is otherwise entitled.



Studies that involve more than minimal risk to the subject generally are not included in SPASS. Minimal risk is defined as risk not exceeding that normally encountered in daily life. However, in some cases, research dealing with sensitive aspects of the subject’s own behavior, such as illegal conduct, drug use, sexual behavior, use of alcohol, or various aspects of family behavior will be included in SPASS. The nature of any specific risk, stress, invasion of privacy, or discomfort associated with a specific research project is covered in the consent form for that study. A document entitled “Information about SPASS: Information for Students” directs students how to proceed if they believe that a study is being conducted in an inappropriate or unsafe fashion, or if there is any problem associated with their involvement in the PSP.



Students who participate in SPASS may receive an educational experience. Neither failure to participate nor withdrawal from participation will result in loss of benefits or a reduction in the course grade to which the student is otherwise entitled. However, students who do not complete an alternative assignment in lieu of research participation may receive a reduction in their grade.

Subject Pool Access for Social Sciences
SPASS Coordinator 2016-2017: Dr. Stephanie Wright
Office: F-146
3175 Cedartown Highway
Rome, GA 30161