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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Researchers

FAQ Page Links

Getting Started for Researchers

  1. What is the Xlab?
  2. What are the steps for working through the Xlab?
  3. Who is eligible to conduct experiments in the Xlab?
  4. Do I have to be affiliated with UC Berkeley?
  5. Does the Xlab have subjects available for my experiment?
  6. Is there a way to filter who can participate in my experiment?
  7. Can I use my own subjects?
  8. If I use my own subjects, how will they be paid?
  9. Are there any research opportunities available for undergraduates?
  10. Programming

  11. Do you have software available for experiments?
  12. Can I use my own software?
  13. What are the software design requirements?
  14. Where can I receive help with programming my experiment?
  15. Will I be notified if some major changes have occurred in the Xlab?
  16. Payment

  17. Do I have to pay to use the Xlab?
  18. Do I have to pay for the subjects?
  19. Is there grant money available from the Xlab?
  20. How much should I pay my subjects?
  21. Scheduling Experiments

  22. How do I schedule an experiment?
  23. How much advance notice do you need to schedule and recruit human subjects for an experiment?
  24. What hours does the Xlab operate?
  25. In-Lab Capabilities & Options

  26. Can I play audios/videos/etc for the subjects?
  27. Can I audiotape/videotape the subjects?
  28. Can you isolate the subjects from each other, aurally and/or visually?
  29. Can I collect data from my subjects using medical devices (EEG, MRI, ECG/EKG, etc)? Can you measure reaction times, mouse movements or pupil movements?
  30. Do I as the researcher have to be physically present for my experiments?
  31. Can I use the Xlab environment away from campus?
  32. Post-Experiment

  33. Can you help me find collaborators?
  34. Can I publish the results of my research on the IBER and/or Xlab Web site?


    Getting Started for Researchers

  1. What is the Xlab?
  2. The official name of the Xlab is Experimental Social Science Laboratory. The Xlab is a facility and a group of services designed to simplify running Human Subject experiments in the Social Sciences. Watch co-founder John Morgan give an informational introduction about the Xlab on the Xlab Vimeo account.

  3. What are the steps for working through the Xlab?
    1. Read: Desiging Your Experiment, CPHS Application Submission, and Procedures and Policies
    2. Submit an Experiment Request Form.
    3. Contact the Xlab Administrator, Technology Support and RES if needed.
    4. Complete CPHS (Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects) application through Berkeley eProtocol.
    5. For computer experiments, schedule a testing of your program in a mock experiment. Program testing can be done prior to the receipt of CPHS approval and is required before a schedule is approved.
    6. E-mail the following to miho@haas.berkeley.edu:
      • CPHS Approved Protocol with all the attachments
      • CPHS Approval Letter
      • Questionnaire
      • Consent Form
    7. Request a SCHEDULE FOR THE EXPERIMENT .
    8. Perform your Xlab experiment. Please review our Guide to In-lab experiments for more informaiton.

  4. Who is eligible to conduct experiments in the Xlab?
  5. Graduate students, post-docs, official UCB visiting scholars, junior faculty, and faculty may conduct experiments in the Xlab and they are also eligible for Xlab Grants.

  6. Do I have to be affiliated with UC Berkeley?
  7. Yes, you must be affliiated with UC Berkeley.

  8. Does the Xlab have subjects available for my experiment?
  9. We have a population of approximately 5,000 and expanding Human Subject pool. Subsets of that may not be eligible for your particular experiment (depending upon the nature of the experiment).

  10. Is there a way to filter who can participate in my experiment?
  11. Yes, but only according to Sona Systems by:

    • Age
    • Sex
    • Race
    • Age the subject moved to the U.S.A.
    • Native English speaker

  12. Can I use my own subjects?
  13. Yes, you can use your own subjects but they will still be required to register and sign up via Sona Systems for administrative services. (ex. subject check-in, payment processing, future tracking to filter out duplicate participants in a particular experiment topic.)

  14. If I use my own subjects, how will they be paid?
  15. Experiments administered through Xlab will be paid by one of the following payment options: Check, Amazon.com gift code (via email), CitiBank prepaid Virtual VISA account. Xlab does NOT handle cash. Researchers who wish to pay in cash should obtain appropriate permission from CPHS and Business Services.

    Contact the Xlab Administrator at miho@haas.berkeley.edu for details.

  16. Are there any research opportunities available for undergraduates?
  17. Undergraduates are not eligible to conduct their own research in the Xlab. For research opportunities and experience, we suggest applying for the Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP).

    Programming

  18. Do you have software available for experiments?
  19. Please view the link for available software. We welcome submissions of freeware and/or proprietary experimental software. For recommendations concerning experimental software and/or freeware applications available, contact xtech@haas.berkeley.edu The Xlab will configure finished, tested applications to run in our private network laboratory.

    • The Xlab does NOT offer to:
      • write, debug, and compile code into executables
      • create applications via program creation tools such as Ztree, Director, etc.
      • write scripts and Web/Database applications.
  20. Can I use my own software?
  21. Yes. Please read "Using Your Own Software" under Technology Support Services.

  22. What are the software design requirements?
  23. We prefer that your software not be "beta" - we do not have the resources to help you debug or customize your experiment. We expect that your software is designed for client/server (i.e., we anticipate two executables, one for the server and one for the client), and that all data is collected into one file on the server. If your software expects an uninterrupted ethernet connection and makes no allowances for timeouts and retries, you will be at risk for potential failures that could disrupt your experiment.

  24. Where can I receive help with programming my experiment?
  25. Please contact the Technology Support at xtech at haas.berkeley.edu for more information.

  26. Will I be notified if some major changes have occurred in the Xlab?
  27. Researchers will receive email notice of new functionality or changing services as they are added or modified. Our web site, xlab.berkeley.edu, and our xflash newsletter, will also announce major Xlab service changes.

    Payment

  28. Do I have to pay to use the Xlab?
  29. No, there are no user fees at the present time. You are required to pay subjects for participation in your experiment (See below).

  30. Do I have to pay for the subjects?
  31. Yes, researchers are required to pay Xlab subjects for participation in an experiment. We can also arrange fund transfers from one of your UCB funds. See question below to determine how much you should pay your subjects.

  32. Is there grant money available from the Xlab?
  33. Yes. See the Benefits of Xlab: Xlab Research Grants page for details.

  34. How much should I pay my subjects?
  35. This depends on the duration of each session and payment method you choose. (flat fee or variable payment) Estimate the cost and the minimum payout allowed in Guide to In-Lab Experiments under "Subject Payment Guidelines."

    Scheduling Experiments

  36. How do I schedule an experiment?
  37. Please make sure you have completed all of the required steps BEFORE you schedule an experiment. To schedule your experiment, take a look at the Xlab Calendar for a free date and time, then fill out the Schedule Request Form.

  38. How much advance notice do you need to schedule and recruit human subjects for an experiment?
  39. Please submit Experiment schedule request form at least 10 business days prior to the experiment date so that Xlab staff will have sufficient time to prepare for your experiment.

    Your FINAL program must be tested on XLab computers before submitting the schedule request.

    Top priority is given to pre-approved Xlab experiments until 10 business days prior to the experimetn date. Then, Xlab will review other requests such as course credit and self-service experiments.

  40. What hours does the Xlab operate?
  41. Normally, Monday through Friday from 10 AM - 12 PM and 1-5 PM. See Xlab Hours for extended hours.

    In-Lab Capabilities and Options

  42. Can I play audios/videos/etc for the subjects?
  43. Yes - if these devices are accounted for in your CPHS approved protocol. The Xlab supplies noise-canceling headphones for audio.

  44. Can I audiotape/videotape the subjects?
  45. Yes - if these devices are accounted for in your CPHS approved protocol. Be sure to check the CPHS approval documents page for audio/video consent waivers.

  46. Can you isolate the subjects from each other, aurally and/or visually?
  47. Yes, we can provide earmuff-style headphones and partitions.

  48. Can I collect data from my subjects using medical devices (EEG, MRI, ECG/EKG, etc)? Can you measure reaction times, mouse movements or pupil movements?
  49. Yes, please submit Experiment Request Form with detail information of equipment and restriction/requirement for subject recruitment.

  50. Do I as the researcher have to be physically present for my experiments?
  51. No, research assistants can carry out execution of the experiment after the first couple of sessions. However, please be available (via email or phone) to assist your RA in case of unforseen event.

  52. Can I use the Xlab environment away from campus?
  53. The Xlab is working towards providing geographically mobile experiment equipment and services. Researchers will receive email notice of new functionality or changing services as they are added or modified. Our web site, xlab.berkeley.edu, and our XFlash! newsletter, will also announce major Xlab service changes.

    Post-Experiment

  54. Can you help me find collaborators?
  55. Yes! Contact the Xlab Manager, Bob Barde: barde@haas.berkeley.edu

  56. Can I publish the results of my research on the IBER and/or Xlab Web site?
  57. Yes, we have a working papers section in the IBER web site at: http://repositories.cdlib.org/iber/