The University of Minnesota is a leading public research institution. A wide variety of research studies, from behavioral studies to experimental drug studies, take place here. By volunteering for research, you can help researchers discover answers to questions to improve people’s lives.
Research vs. Treatment
Doctors and researchers are committed to your care and safety. There are important differences between research and treatment plans.
The goal of research is to learn new things in order to help groups of people in the future. Researchers learn things by following the same plan with a number of participants, so they do not usually make changes to the plan for individual research participants. You, as an individual, may or may not be helped by volunteering for a research study.
The goal of treatment is to help you get better or to improve your quality of life. Doctors can make changes to your treatment plan as needed.
It's your Decision
When thinking about volunteering for a research study, you can:
- Talk with family, friends, or others before making a decision
- Ask as many questions as you want
- Change your mind at any time
- Leave a research study knowing that the treatments or services that you receive from your doctor, clinic, hospital, or others will not be affected
Before volunteering for a research study, you should know the answers to these questions:
- What is the research study about?
- How is this different from my treatment plan?
- What will I be asked to do?
- How much time will it take?
- Are there potential side effects or risks?
- What will happen if I have problems because of participating?
- Are there treatment options I should know about?
- How will my information be kept private or shared?
- Will I be billed for any costs?
- Will I be compensated for my time?
- Who can I contact with questions or concerns?
- How do I leave the study after I start?
Participant Bill of Rights
As a research study volunteer, you have the right to know:
- What the research study is about
- What you will be asked to do
- How much time it will take
- What good may come from the study for you or for other people and what new things may be learned
- The risks, side effects, pain, or other things that may happen if you participate
- How information about you will be kept private or shared
- Who to contact with questions
- What will happen if you have problems because of participating
- Where to look for information about what was learned after the research study is over
- All of the treatment options outside of participating in a research study
You also have the right to:
- Get answers to any questions you have before you decide to participate and after you agree to participate
- Say “no” if you do not want to participate
- Change your mind; you can stop participating whenever you want
- Receive a copy of the consent form or information sheet
Questions & Concerns
If you are in a study and have questions for the researcher, contact them directly. Their contact information is located in the materials you received about the research study.
To share feedback privately about your research experience:
- Call the Research Participants’ Advocate Line: 612-625-1650
- Submit feedback online: z.umn.edu/hrppfeedback