Conducting Dissertation Research

Here you can find information on conducting dissertation research. Please see the section most relevant to your study design:

Recruitment – SONA

Participants are typically recruited through SONA (see link below):


SONA is an online survey distribution and recruitment platform, which can be used to manage participant sign-ups and research point distribution (please see the ‘How to award research points on SONA’ section on MyStudies for details).

The Lab will be running workshops on using SONA in January/February, which will be announced via MyStudies.

Using SONA as a Researcher:

All students are expected to gain a minimum of 20 research points across Levels 4 & 5, in order to gain access to their SONA researcher account in final year. Level 6 researcher accounts will be activated between September and October, for all Level 6 accounts with the required number of research points (20). If you have not collected the required number of research points across Levels 4 & 5, please contact the Psychology Lab to discuss gaining access to a researcher account on SONA.

2023-24 Level 6 Students – If you have not collected the required number of research points you, will need to participate in research over the following months, in order to meet this requirement. We are asking that you accumulate a total of 10 Research Points within your 3rd year by participating in others’ research projects.

Participants can also be recruited from outside the university, if this has been agreed with your supervisor and you have received ethical approval to do so. However, where possible, it is recommended that you use SONA in addition to this, in order to maximise the number of participants you can recruit and to allow Level 4 & 5 student to gain experience through participating in your research.

Conducting Online Studies/Research


Qualtrics is a cloud-based platform for creating and distributing web-based surveys and online experimental studies. It can be used for both qualitative and quantitative data collection. It is easy to use and offers a wide range of survey types and designs.

In addition to questionnaires, Qualtrics can also be used to build cognitive tasks, such as Stroop, Implicit Association and Visual Search tasks. Qualtrics can also record reaction times, as well as present and randomise stimuli, such as images, sounds, or videos.

There will be training provided on using Qualtrics from the Psychology Lab. However, if you would like to get some background information now, please see this link:

Creating a Qualtrics Account:

Please make sure to use the below link when creating your Qualtrics account:

(Please Note: The sign-up link attached is for those within the School of Humanities and Social Science. If you require a Qualtrics account and you are within another school at the university, please contact your School Office to obtain your schools unique sign-up link).

Qualtrics –

Please follow the attached instructions when creating your account – How to create a Qualtrics account


Gorilla is an online survey and experiment building platform which can be used to create more complex experimental tasks. If you have a particular task in mind, please see the link below for examples of what can be created on Gorilla.

Sample Tasks on Gorilla –

If you have a specific test you would like to use, let us know and we will be in contact with details on which survey building platform will be best suited to the task you would like to build. If you are likely to be using Gorilla, we will send over the information on creating an account on Gorilla.

Conducting In-Person Research/Experiments

In-person research/experiments will typically take place within the Psychology Lab (See our Lab Spaces page for more information on the rooms available). Rooms can be booked by emailing the Psychology Lab. For details on how to do this and what to include in your request, see below:

If you would like to book one of the following rooms, please contact the Psychology lab:

  • Booth 123A (Larger booth – for EEG, eye-tracking and psychophysiological research)
  • VR & Eye-tracking Room (Mithras 122) (Larger space – for VR, eye-tracking and psychophysiological research, as well as focus groups)
  • Life Lab (Mithras 114) (Larger, more naturalistic environment – for focus groups and child research)

In your request, please include details of when you would like the room and the equipment that you will require in there.

Please note:

  • When booking a room, make sure to account for time either side of your participant’s timeslot to set up and tidy away the space
  • Rooms are subject to availability, so try and book them in advance, and we will do our best to accommodate you
  • If you wish to cancel a room booking, please let us know as soon as possible

If you are planning on conducting an in-person experiment, it’s good to get in touch with us as soon as possible, especially if you would like to use some of the more specialist equipment, such as Eye-Tracking, EEG or BioPac (Physiological measures). Planning an experimental study can be time-consuming, so it’s important that you get in contact with us as soon as possible, so that we can help you get started and ensure that the equipment is suitable for your needs.

The Psychology Lab has a range of equipment available for you to use for your dissertations. Please see our Lab Equipment page for a detailed description of what equipment is available.

We can provide one-to-one training on using the equipment and depending on demand, we can also run small workshops for groups of students interested in using the same equipment. You will be notified about these in advance via MyStudies.

If you are planning on using any of the Lab equipment, please do get in contact with us as soon as possible to book in a meeting.

Contact Information:

Booking Equipment

Please try to book equipment at least 4 working days in advance.

To book equipment, contact us with the details of the resources you will need, and when you will need them. We’ll confirm whether the equipment is available. If you wish to cancel a booking, please let us know as soon as possible.  Equipment will be loaned on a first come, first served basis and is subject to availability.

Conducting Interviews/Focus Groups

The Lab has audio recording & transcribing equipment available for you to use when conducting your interviews & focus groups.

Interviews and focus groups can be conducted online via Microsoft Teams or in person using the audio recording equipment from the Psychology Lab. If you require an audio recorder to record your interviews/focus groups, please get in contact with the lab at least 4 working days prior to your interview. We cannot guarantee that audio recorders will be available on the day if they have not been booked in advance.

If you require an audio recorder for off-campus interviews/focus groups, this can also be booked by emailing, with the details of when and how long you will need to borrow the recorder for. Typical audio recorder loans are between 1 – 2 weeks; however, if you require an audio recorder for a longer period of time, this can be arranged with the Lab.

In-Person Interview Spaces

In-person interviews are typically conducted in one of the experimental booths (Rooms 123C – 123F) or larger group rooms within the Psychology Lab. Small experimental rooms can be booked through SONA. If you would like to book one of the larger spaces, please e-mail us to check availability. Other interview locations, such as off campus interviews, will need to be agreed with your supervisor and will in most/all cases also need to be approved through ethics.

The lab can provide audio and video recording equipment (Please see the ‘Booking Equipment’ section at the top of the page for details on how to do this). If you intend to make video recordings, make sure you include this in your ethics application. The Lab can also assist with transcribing your interviews after your interviews have been conducted.

A document with instructions on how to use online transcription software for in-person interviews/focus groups will be uploaded soon.

Using Microsoft Teams

  • Online interviews and focus groups can be conducted using MS Teams.
  • Teams allows you to make video recordings. It’s not possible to make audio-only recordings, so make sure to state this in your ethical application form if you intend to run online interviews and to remind participants to turn off their camera before the recording starts.
  • All Brighton University students have access to Teams, so they’ll be able to join the interview or a focus group using the link you generate for the meeting.
  • Teams meeting links can also be distributed to those outside of the University; however, this must be agreed with your supervisor and ethics first.
  • At the end of the meeting, the recording will be saved to your University OneDrive & Microsoft Stream account, which you can sign into using your usual Office 365 credential (using e.g. as your username).
  • You can then download a copy of the transcription directly from Stream by selecting the ‘Transcript’ option on the left of the webpage and selecting ‘Download’.

A document with instructions on how to use online transcription software for online interviews/focus groups will be uploaded soon.

Before your interview / focus group (Setting-up Teams and recording consent):

  • If you are recruiting participants from outside the University of Brighton, they can use the web browser version of Microsoft Teams to join the meeting. Prior to their interview, you will need to send them a unique Teams link, so that they can click on it and join the call. Make sure that you generate a NEW Teams link for each participant, as this will prevent other participants from joining a call during another participant’s interview.

Alternatively, participants can also download Teams using the link below:

If you have questions or need additional guidance, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

View the Psychology Research Privacy Policy

(Download accessible version of the Psychology Research Privacy Policy)