Deciding whether to become a research participant is an important choice, a personal choice, and a voluntary one. It should also be an informed choice. You should have answers to all your questions before you choose.
Common questions potential research participants have:
- What exactly will happen to me in the research?
- Will there be any unpleasant side effects?
- Will the research help me personally?
- What other options do I have?
- Can I leave the study at any time?
- Will participating in the study cost me personally?
Why is research important? Research has led to important discoveries that make our lives better. Some examples are:
- New drugs to treat cancer, diabetes, and other diseases
- Ultrasound, X-ray machines, and diagnostic tests
- Ways to stop smoking
- Improved medical procedures
Many potential research participants make their decisions by considering the benefits and burdens of research and research participation—including how research participation and research outcomes may impact their physical, psychological, economic, familial, social, and spiritual well-being. Giving back and contributing to the discovery new knowledge also shape personal decisions about research participation.
The Institutional Review Board works with researchers to minimize risks and to understand the balance of benefits and burdens that a research protocol presents. It requires researchers to honor principles of justice, beneficence, and respect for persons. On this webpage, we invite you to consider research participation and offer these resources to help:
- Should you take part in a research study? Here are some things you should know.
- The State of California’s “Experimental Research Subject’s Bill of Rights”
- Research at the UC Davis Health
In addition, the Office for Human Research Protections has developed a public outreach website: About Research Participation. On this website you will find resources designed to help potential volunteers better understand research and find the information they need to decide whether to participate in research.[FT] Ulrich CM et. Al., Developing a Model of the Benefits and Burdens of Research Participation in Cancer Clinical Trials. AJOB Prim Res. 2012, 3(2): 10-23