Questions to Ask Before Joining a Research Study

If you decide entering a research study might be the right choice for you, it’s important to ask the researcher or person who recruits volunteers certain questions to make sure you know exactly what will happen. Here are some of the important questions and topics to ask about when deciding whether to take part in a research study:

  • Purpose of the study.
    • What is the specific goal of this study? What questions does the team hope to answer?
    • What happens to the information that is collected and how will it be used?
    • How is the study funded? Who is funding it?
  • Treatments and participation.
    • What treatments or drugs will I receive, if any?
    • Is there a chance I won’t receive the drug or treatment you will be studying?
    • What happens if I want to stop participating in the study?
  • Study activities.
    • What activities, tests, or treatments will the study include?
    • Where will these be performed? Will I need to stay overnight in a clinic or hospital?
    • What information will be collected?
    • How often will I need to see or contact the research team?
  • Risks and benefits.
    • What are the short- and long-term risks of participating in this study?
    • What are the short- and long-term benefits?
    • How do these risks and benefits compare with my options for care outside of the study?
    • Who can see my personal information and how will it be used?
  • Effects on daily life and responsibilities.
    • How will taking part in this study affect my daily life? Will it affect my schedule?
    • Will it interfere with my ability to go to work as normal or hurt my ability to do my job?
    • Will I need to get child or elder care?
    • Will it affect transportation? For instance, will I have to arrange rides or take public transportation? Will I have to travel far?
  • Costs and payments.
    • What costs should I expect for medical care, tests, treatments, or other aspects of the study? What is covered by the study and what will I have to pay?
    • What costs should I expect for transportation, hotel, and meals? Will any of these costs be paid for by the study?
    • Is there any compensation, such as a gift card or money, for participating? When would I receive it?