Research Support

Research Intake Form

Researchers who are interested in conducting studies through the BRL should first complete a Research Intake Form. Please fill out this form if any of the following applies to you:

  • You plan to conduct a lab study using BRL facilities.
  • You plan to conduct an online study using the BRL participant pool.
  • You plan to conduct an online study using a research panel or crowdsourcing platform, and would like us to provide advisory, logistical, or technical support throughout your project.

We ask that you submit a Research Intake Form for each new study you conduct, regardless of whether you have used BRL resources in the past. We will review your submission and reach out to you via email in 1–2 business days.

Please know that you are not required to have a concrete research plan before reaching out to us. If you are unsure about certain aspects of your study, we encourage you to fill out a Research Intake Form anyway. We are here to offer you guidance and support throughout your research planning process.

Submit Research Intake Form

Planning Session

After receiving your Research Intake Form, the BRL Coordinator will invite you to the lab for a planning session, which gives us an opportunity to find out more about your research needs and how we can help fulfill them. If this is your first time conducting research through the BRL, you will be given a tour of the lab as well as a printed copy of the BRL Researcher’s Manual, which explains our policies and procedures in detail.

The following topics are frequently discussed during planning sessions:

  • Research design
  • Space, equipment, and software requirements
  • Overall timeframe of the research project
  • Study duration
  • Scheduling preferences
  • Desired sample size
  • Participant eligibility criteria
  • Participant compensation amount and method
  • Research personnel
  • Pilot study

While we understand that you may not have finalized every detail of your study at this stage, we encourage you to think about each of the above topics before meeting with us, so that you may tell us your ideas, questions, and concerns during the planning session.

Depending on the complexity and scale of your study, we may schedule a follow-up meeting to further discuss certain details. Moreover, if your study involves the use of any special equipment at the BRL (e.g., our AV system), we will hold a separate training session for the appropriate research personnel.

Launching Your Study

In order to launch your study through the BRL, you will need to take the following steps:

  1. Submit Research Intake Form — Please see above for details.
  2. Attend planning session — Please see above for details.
  3. Obtain COUHES approval — You must obtain approval from COUHES (MIT’s institutional review board) and email a copy of the approval letter to the BRL Coordinator before starting your study. In addition, all individuals associated with your study must complete an online training course on human subjects research. For more information, please visit the “COUHES Approval” page of our website.
  4. Conduct pilot study — You are encouraged (but not required) to conduct a pilot study to test out your research methods, procedures, equipment, software, and so on. You may recruit pilot study participants from your circle of acquaintances.
  5. Add study to Sona — You will be given access to our research management platform, Sona, where you can add your study and make it available to all or some members of the BRL participant pool. To learn more about Sona’s features and to download a tutorial we created specifically for MIT researchers, please visit the “Using Sona” page of our website.
  6. Reserve time slots — We use Google Calendar to keep track of lab usage. If you plan to conduct your study at the BRL, we will send you a link to view (but not edit) the BRL Calendar. You may then check this calendar for available hours and email the BRL Coordinator to reserve time slots. When making reservations, please adhere to our scheduling policies, which are listed on the “Lab Policies” page of our website. Once we add your time slots to the BRL Calendar, you can make them available to participants on Sona. For online studies, researchers simply need to post a single time slot on Sona specifying the participation deadline as well as the maximum number of participants allowed.
  7. Recruit participants — To help you gather the participants you need, we will promote your study through various channels. For more information on our recruitment practices, please visit the “Participant Pool” page of our website.
  8. Begin research — At this point, you should be ready to formally begin your study. As your study progresses, we will continue to offer logistical support and advisory services so that you may complete your research project with ease.