Questions to Ask


Choosing to participate in a clinical trial is an important personal decision. The following information may help you make the decision that is right for you.

  • Research is a study that is done to answer a question.
  • Scientists do research because they don’t know for sure what works best to help you.
  • Some other words that describe research are clinical trial, protocol, survey, or experiment.
  • Research is not the same as treatment.

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
  • Vaccines
  • Ways to stop smoking
  • Improved medical procedures

Points to Consider

  • A research study may or may not help you personally.
  • In the future, the results could help others who have a health problem.
  • Research participation is voluntary.

Decision Tips


Before you decide to become a research volunteer, get the facts:


Questions to Ask


Before you agree to participate in a research study, ask the study coordinator or principal investigator these questions.

Why is the research being done?

Will there be any unpleasant side effects?

What will be done to me as part of the research?

Will the research help me personally?

Could the research hurt me?

What other options do I have?

What will the researcher do with my information?

Can I leave the study at any time?

Will the research cost me anything personally?

Who pays if I’m unexpectedly injured in the study?

How long will the study last?

What happens if I decide to leave the study early?

Who should I call if I have a question about the research?