MEL Research Participation System | LSU Manship School of Mass Communication

MEL Research Participation System

The MEL Research Participation System provides an easy online method for you to sign up for research, to keep track of earned credit, and to allocate credits to various courses.

Check out the MEL Research Participation System: 

Research Participation Resources

Q: How do I create a MEL account?

An account was created for you at the beginning of the semester. You don’t have to do anything to create one. If you can’t remember your account information, go to the main MEL Research Participation System website and request your password by clicking on the “Forgot Password?” link. Your user ID for MEL is the same as your mylsu ID.

Q: How can I change my password or contact information?

You can change either of these pieces of information in the “My Profile” section of your MEL page.

Q: The study I’m scheduled to participate in takes place in the Media Effects Lab. Where is it?

The Media Effects Lab is located in 110 Manship Research Facility. For directions, please access the MEL map for directions.

Q: I want to participate in a particular study, but I don’t see the study listed anymore. What does this mean?

This means that either the study has ended or the study cannot accommodate anymore participants. If the deadline date has not passed, you can check back from time to time to see if a participant cancelled their participation. If this is the case, the study will reappear in the list of active studies and you should be able to sign up at that time.

Q: I participated in a study and my point is not showing. What should I do?

If you’re not seeing a point and you have completed participated in the study, it could be that the researcher in charge of the study has not entered the participation points yet. Contact the researcher in charge of the study in question to inquire about the point. If the study you’re curious about was an online survey, it may still take some time for the point to appear. The online survey system is not the same as MEL sign-up system, so the researcher has to manually enter the participation point. If the point has not appeared a few days after the participation deadline, contact the researcher in charge of that study.

Q: Why are some studies worth more points than others?

In order to provide equity in regard to time and effort, studies that are estimated to take longer and/or require more effort (e.e. multiple lab session, online and lab component, etc.) are worth more points than sessions that require less time (i.e. 15 minutes) to complete.

Q: What if I forget what study I signed up for?

If you forget, log in to the MEL Research Participation System. The landing page should list your upcoming studies. You will also receive email reminders from the system, 24 hours before a scheduled lab study and 24 hours before an online study ends.

Q: I’m not 18 years old, yet. And, all of the studies require me to be 18. Can I still earn points for my classes?

Yes. In order to participate in research studies at LSU students must be at least 18 years old (of legal age to provide consent for participation). If you’re not yet 18, you’ll sign up for an “Alternate Assignment” through the system. Be sure to sign up for the alternate assignment that matches a study you were interested in participating in. Follow the instructions and complete the assignment by the listed deadline. You’ll earn the same amount of credit as a classmate who participated in the research study.

Q: Can I participate in a study and its listed alternate assignment for double the points?

No. The alternate assignment is designed for those students who either are not yet 18 years old, are unable to participate in research for various reasons, or have reached the study no-show limit within the MEL system. Participating in both a study and its alternate assignment will yield points in only one of the activities.

Q: How will my professor know that I participated in a study or earned points?

Each professor has an account that allows them to see only the amount of points you have accumulated in a semester. The professor cannot see which studies you participated in or any other information regarding your MEL account.

Q: Where can I find my five-digit MEL number?

Each person has a unique five-digit MEL number that must be provided at some point during every study in order for you to receive your participation points. To find this information, go to the MEL Research Participation System, log in, and click on “My Profile.” Your five-digit MEL number can be found in your Profile.

Q: I’m enrolled in multiple Manship courses. Can I participate in one study and use the point for all of the courses?

No. You can only use each participation credit for one course. If you are enrolled in multiple courses, you can select which course you would like to apply the credit to.

Q: Can I move points from one course to another?

Yes. Students will have until the final day of final exams (or a date designated by their professor) to reassign any earned points to different courses. After this time period, this feature will be turned off in the system. This policy is to prevent students from assigning the same earned point to two different courses (i.e. double-dipping).

Q: I can also participate in research for course credit for other courses in Psychology, Communication Studies and Marketing. But, I don’t see those courses when I log in. Why not?

The MEL Research Participation system is only for Manship courses. Other departments may use a similar system, but you would need to contact the professor for that course for the information regarding their online system.

Q: How can I check my progress for the semester?

When you log in to the system, you should see a tracker on the main page. You can also view your study activity on your Profile page.

Q: How do I cancel my participation in a study?

You can cancel your participation in most studies via the MEL Research Participation website, if you do so 12-24 hours in advance (the timeframe depends on the study). If this timeframe has elapsed and you need to cancel your participation, contact the researcher in charge of the study. They may be willing to manually cancel your participation and allow you to sign up for another study session. However, keep in mind that the researcher is under no obligation to allow you to cancel your participation without adequate notice. This is up to their discretion.

Q: I received an email from MEL Research Participation System saying that I received a “no-show (unexcused)” for a study. What does this mean?

If you received such an email, it means that you did not receive participation credit for the study referred to in the email. This result could be for a number of reasons. It could be that you did not show up for your scheduled study session or complete an online study by the designated deadline. In this case, you will have to participate in another study to earn your course points. The no-show designation could also be a result of providing the incorrect MEL identification number. If this is the case, contact the researcher in charge of the study. They may be willing to rectify the error. Students are allowed up to 5 no-shows per semester. Once you’ve reached this limit you can only earn credit by completing Alternate Assignments.

Q: How can I receive updates on current or new studies?

We try to minimize the number of emails we send (we try to maintain a once a week schedule), so you won’t receive an email every time a new study is added. New studies will be identified in the weekly email messages. You can also receive regular updates by following the Media Effects Lab on Twitter: @LSUMediaMEL

Q: Is there a mobile app I can use?

Yes. You can download the Sona Mobile app from your app store. Upon first launch, type in the MEL Research Participation System url (, then log in to your account. While the app looks different from the website, all of the features are the same.

Q: What happens to the information I provide through my study participation?

Throughout a study, your identity remains anonymous. At the study’s completion, the researcher(s) combine the responses from all participants for analysis. The results may be shared through a class or conference presentation, blog post, white paper or journal publication. Results are presented in aggregate form.

Q: Can I use points from previous semesters for courses I am enrolled in this semester?

No. The points you earned from a previous semester do not transfer to the current semester.

To request participants from the Research Participation pool: 

Please fill out the "Request for Participants" form. We will provide more specific follow-up instructions at that time.

A few notes about using the MEL Research Participation Pool: 

  • Please make sure that there is some way for participants to provide their five-digit MEL number. This can be requested as an item on your questionnaire, or it can be in the form of a sign-in sheet if the study takes place in a lab or classroom.
  • There are students who are less than 18 years of age. Being that our research provides all students opportunities for course credit, you should also make sure that minor students have equal opportunities to earn this credit by completion of an alternate assignment. This assignment should be something that is comparable to what a student participant in your study will complete (i.e. response paper to an article). Instructions for this assignment should be included in your study description.
  • A MEL researcher account will be created for you (if you do not already have one). You will use this account to provide students with the credit they earned. Use the MEL identification information the student provided via either the questionnaire or the sign-in sheet to determine which students to award credit to. Those students who did not attend a study session or who failed to complete an online study by the designated deadline should be marked as “No Show-Penalty.”
  • Please provide points within 48 hours of study/session completion.
  • Upon acceptance of the completed manuscript to conference and publication, please submit an abstract to the lab director. This abstract, and any other link to information, will be posted on the MEL website at

To contribute participants from the Research Participation pool: 

Please fill out the "Contribute Students to Research Participation Pool" form

Each semester, the MEL recruits Manship School and Political Science students to participate in the research participation pool. This pool provides faculty and students with a valuable resource that otherwise may be difficult to obtain. Instructors of record can contribute to the pool by completing the form above and providing their course rosters to the MEL director. Accounts for both students and the instructor will be created in the online sign-up system. Students are assigned to the appropriate course(s). Information should not be provided before the final date to add courses, each semester.

A few other items to note:

  • Studies are worth various amounts. Typically, less than 30 minutes of participation time will result in .5 points while 30 minutes to one hour of time will result in one full point. Occasionally, some studies require more than an hour, questionnaires in addition main questionnaires/lab time, or attendance at multiple sessions. These studies are sometimes given more value, but are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
  • Instructors translate the points into course credit in a manner they deem most appropriate for their courses. For example, one instructor may designate one point of MEL credit as one percentage point added to a student’s final grade, while another may designate a point as five points added to an exam grade.
  • Instructors can track overall student participation by logging in to their instructor account at: Instructors can download Excel/.csv versions of the student roster.
  • We recognize that some students are not yet 18 years of age (a requirement for participation in research). These students should be encouraged to sign up for the “Alternate Assignment Study.” While this is not an actual study, it is a way for these students (and others with time constraints) to complete other assignments for MEL credit.
  • Students have until the final day of classes to complete their participation. All studies will close after this date; no studies will take place during final exams. In addition, students will have until the final day of final exams to reassign any earned points to different courses. After this time period, this feature will be turned off in the system. This policy is to prevent students from assigning the same earned point to two different courses (i.e. double-dipping).
  • Some instructors like to include MEL Research Participation Pool information in the course syllabus. Below is an example for a research methods course:

Because this course pertains to learning how to conduct and understand research originating in the field and academia, you will have the opportunity to receive course credit by participating in ongoing research in the Manship School, or by completing an alternate assignment in lieu of a research participation opportunity ( These studies must be ongoing studies in the Manship School and may not be one conducted for this class by a classmate or one conducted by students in other sections of this course. Please note that to earn this credit, you must either earn three MEL points or complete alternate assignments associated with studies by the due dates given—late participation or assignments will not be available. Students may earn one additional point of MEL credit, to be treated as extra course credit.


For questions regarding specific studies or points, please instruct students to contact the researcher in charge of the study. For questions regarding the online sign-up system or major issues with a specific study, please instruct students to contact the MEL director at