Thursday, April 18, 2024

Questions to Ask before Participating in Clinical Research

Participating in a clinical trial can be a relatively easy way to earn extra cash. Your participation can also be useful for researchers, particularly if they are looking for participants that possess rare qualities or capabilities.

You shouldn’t just dive into a clinical trial before you really know what you are doing, though. There are a lot of things to take into consideration, and questions that you should ask of the researchers before you get started. If you’re not sure where to start looking, start by doing some searches online to see what some of the studies in your area might be. Alternatively, there may be studies being conducted remotely for which you are a good fit and could possibly travel to participate in. You can also look on bulletin boards at hospitals or research institutions where there might be notices requesting participants.

In the sections below, we will review some of the major things that you should find out before you agree to take part in a clinical trial.

What are research criteria based upon?

Clinical trials involve testing different types of medical practices or drugs on a select group of people to test their effects. Researchers should state carefully in their requests for participants exactly what characteristics they are looking for. It could be that they are looking for people with certain gene types, diseases or conditions, or particular lifestyle characteristics that will help to prove or disprove the effectiveness of medicines.

Before you get started, you might have to prove that you possess the characteristics that the researchers are looking for. Sometimes people are interested in taking part in clinical trials for the money they offer, but cannot meet the criteria so they falsely state that they do. This is of no use to researchers because it doesn’t give them the baseline that they need to conduct their studies. Therefore, you will be asked to meet the “inclusion criteria” of the trial.

One place to look that offers a wide range of clinical trials is This site offers information about and links to many different kinds of trials across different spheres of medicine.

Questions you should ask of researchers

1. Find out how long the trial will last

One of the things you need to determine is how long the trial you’re signing up for will last. It could be for a specified, predetermined amount of time, or it could be for a range of time. You should also figure out how much of your schedule you will need to give up to participate. You might have to take certain medicines and then show up on a regular basis for progress testing; figure out how much time this will take.

Some trials can be very long: for certain medicines, results will only become clear after 10-15 years. So you should take this into consideration before getting started.

2. Ask about payment

There are several things that you should figure out with regard to the way you will be paid:
●    Whether you will be paid in one lump sum, or in a series of payments
●    Whether you will receive cash, a bank transfer, or another form of payment
●    What the terms will be of your being paid if for some reason you have to stop the trial
●    Whether you will be compensated for transportation/lodging etc in cases in which you have to travel for the study
●    Whether you will be compensated for adverse effects of medicines or other treatments

3. Ask about confidentiality

In participating in medical-related studies, you will likely have to divulge very personal information about yourself and your medical and possibly family history. This information is often sensitive, so you should ensure that the institution you are working with provides a non-disclosure agreement for its participants. This is a way of guaranteeing the confidentiality of the information that you share.

If you want to learn more about the laws governing clinical trials, look at the government’s site for a description of policies.

 4.  Ask for precise information about the effects of the treatment

When you participate in a clinical trial, the researchers should give you very precise information about exactly what you will go through physically. This includes:

●    How much medication/treatment you will receive and when
●    Any possible adverse side effects of the treatment
●    What recourse you will have if you experience negative side effects
●    Whether there potential long-term effects of the treatment that you should be aware of
●    Whether you will be able to continue taking any current medication or have to alter your lifestyle in any way while you undergo treatment
●    How frequently researchers check in with participants and monitor their progress

If any answers to the above information make you feel uncomfortable, you might want to reconsider your participation in the study. The last thing you want is to find yourself experiencing unwanted side effects from an experimental medication and then have no recourse for seeking help.

5.  Ask about follow-up procedures

Another thing you should determine is what the researchers’ plans are regarding follow-up procedures. Find out what they plan to do with the results of their research, where exactly it will be published and to whom it will be distributed. You should also inquire about whether researchers plan to follow up with you in the future. It could be that you develop symptoms well after a study has ended and need to discuss them. Determine all these things before you get started.


Participating in clinical research trials is common, and studies are widespread among many different parts of society. Some are intended to test very specific problems that only a small number of people might be eligible for. Others are more widespread and are intended to test new drugs or treatments on a large segment of the population. In short, every study is unique.

In order to be sure that you have a good experience and don’t encounter unforeseen problems, review the series of questions in this article before you get started with any study. This will ensure that you have the basics covered and that if you do run into a problem, you will have recourse to address it.

This is a guest blog entry.

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