Running MEG studies
All MEG studies require the presence of a qualified "MEG researcher" and a qualified "MEG Operator", as defined in the the StandardOperatingProcedures (SOPS) which you need to read before running any studies in the MEG lab. The Operator will actually run the MEG machine. If you are interested and feel it would be beneficial for you to train to be an operator, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
To run your study with an operator, you will have to become authorised as an MEG researcher. The authorisation procedure is described in the SOPs; briefly, it includes a general introduction to the lab by a qualified operator, reading the SOPs, an assessment of your knowledge of the procedures (particular attention is paid to volunteer and equipment safety aspects) and attending an ongoing MEG study. For each of these points a signature of one of the operators is required. The form on which these signatures should be gathered can be found in one of the drawers in the desk in the MEG lab.
Even though it is the Operator who will run the data acquisition machine, proper project settings for data acqusition are a responsibility of a particular MEG researcher. Please, once you are ready to run your study, contact the operators well in advance to discuss the settings and stimulation requirements.
Keep a record of all your settings (MEG project and settings, stimulus files, trigger boxes, response pads and connections), including drawing the connections between the trigger boxes. Check that everything is OK every time you run your study, make sure all your settings and connections are correct and all your trigger channels light up. Run a trigger-testing e-prime script (available in the lab) to double-check. The operators cannot possibly keep all different experimental settings in their memory, and will not do this. They will try to help when they can, but if you don't know your triggers, no one else will. If you feel you a need a chance to test these things out before your first pilot, then please e-mail email@example.com as there may be a spare slot you can use, or the possibility of using the helium refill or after hours time to test this. It is the responsibility of the researcher to make sure everything is prepared prior to the first pilot.
Running the stimulation computers and making sure your paradigm is compatible with the MEG machine is the researcher's responsibility. The operators will not run your stimulus delivery programs for you.
If you are using any non-standard equipment or make any changes in the settings (be they hardware or software), make sure to undo your changes in the end of your recording slot and leave the lab in the same state you found it before the recording.
For your general information, manuals for the data acquisition software are available to people with Cambridge approved logins at ElektaSoftwareManuals.