New IRB Proposals with Sona

Instructions for IRB Proposal Submission Using Sona Systems Recruitment

PLEASE NOTE: PIs who do not plan to recruit PS101 subjects do not need to have their proposals pre-reviewed by the department and may submit their proposals directly to the University IRB.

If you intend to use the SONA System for participant recruitment, please follow these instructions:

  1. Please see the Submission Guidelines page to determine which IRB application (exempt, expedited, or full board review) is appropriate for your study. You may then download the appropriate IRB proposal application from the University IRB’s website. Follow application instructions.
  2. Follow the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences’ IRB checklist of requirements to ensure all documents are accounted for prior to submission.
  3. One electronic copy must be submitted as an attachment to Katie O’Shea and to Dr. Joanne Hebden Palfai, Director of Academic Affairs and Undergraduate Studies, for a preliminary review by Dr. Andrea Mercurio, Department Pre-Reviewer. All documents should be in Word format to allow for “Track Changes”. The signature page of the proposal and any certificates, surveys, or interview questions may be submitted in PDF format. All documents should be sent with the PI’s name (Last Name, First Name) followed by brief descriptor of document (e.g. application, informed consent) and the date of submission (e.g. 2.12.14).
  4. Once the preliminary review is complete, the proposal will be returned to the PI along with notes indicating any changes that are required. After changes have been made, the revised proposal, along with a detailed cover letter showing how the PI has addressed each revision, should be resubmitted to Katie O’Shea and to Dr. Joanne Hebden Palfai for review by the department.
  5. If no changes are required or if the revised proposal has been given final approval by the department’s preliminary review committee, Dr. Andrea Mercurio will sign off and the proposal will be forwarded electronically to the University IRB for review. At this time, if there are any COI or financial disclosure forms, they should be sent by the PI directly to
  6. IMPORTANT: PLEASE DO NOT SEND PROPOSALS DIRECTLY TO THE UNIVERSITY IRB COMMITTEE. Proposals must be logged in by the department and assigned a tracking number. Without this number, we will not be able to check on the status of your proposal. Proposals sent without department approval will be returned.
  7. Proposals will then be reviewed by the University IRB committee, who will contact the PI directly indicating whether changes are required or if the proposal is approved.
  8. Once your proposal has been approved by the University IRB committee, you must send the approval letter electronically to Katie O’Shea and to Dr. Joanne Hebden Palfai. Please note that we must have received the University IRB approval letter in order for the PI to post a study on the Sona system.

If you have any questions regarding IRB proposals or application procedures, please contact Dr. Joanne Hebden Palfai, Director of Academic Affairs, at 617-353-2064 or by email at