Participating in Research

Research Affects You

There are many reasons to participate in research. Perhaps you or a loved one suffers from a condition without an established cure. Maybe you want to contribute your opinion or experiences on a topic that interests you. Nearly all of the medicines, therapies and devices we rely on every day were designed and refined through trials involving human research subjects.

The Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) provides educational materials and videos available online

Research/Clinical Trial at USC

Clinical Trial Search Tools

Research Participant Guidance

Kids in Research

Public Health & Research News

Questions to Consider Before Deciding to Participate in Research

Does the study demand a large time commitments or expenses?

Such as commuting to and from appointments.

Are there potential risks or side effects?

The research team must inform you of any risks or side affects before you decide to participate in the study. This is part of the informed consent process

Are there benefits?

Many research studies involve control groups or placebos. If you are in such a group you will not receive the experimental treatment, however, you will be fulfilling an important role by helping researchers measure the effectiveness of the experimental procedure, drug, or device.

Who is conducting the study?

The Principal Investigator (PI) may be a physician, educator, student, or member of non-profit or for-profit organizations. You may be interested in finding out what company or institution is funding the study.

Who has reviewed/approved this study?

At most colleges, hospitals, and other institutions that receive government funding, studies involving human subjects are reviewed by a board of physicians, scientists, community members, students who assess the safety of the study and ensure that the subjects rights are appropriately protected according to federal law.

How will my privacy be protected? Who will have access to my records?

Ask the study coordinator or a member of the research team about how they plan to store your information and how long they plan to keep it. Will your identity be kept anonymous or do they wish to record “personally identifiable information” such as your address, phone number, social security number, etc..?

What if I no longer want to participate?

No one can force you to participate in research or to continue if you wish to withdraw your participation. A member of the research team should make that clear to you when you agree to participate.

Complaints, Concerns, or Reports of Violations

File or inquire about a human subjects related complaint, concern, or reports of violations.