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Information for Research Participants

Research studies have led to the advancement of medicine and the improvement of patient care. If you are thinking about taking part in a research study, there are many important things to consider.

Please remember that participating in a research study is completely voluntary. You may choose to not participate, or if you decide to participate, you may choose to stop participating at any time. The following information may help you understand what an Institutional Review Board (IRB) does and whether or not participating in a research study is right for you. In addition, this section of our website provides helpful links and a glossary of terms you may hear when talking with research staff.

What is research?

Research is an organized way of finding out about something, including research development, testing, and evaluation that are designed to develop or contribute to general knowledge.

What is a clinical study?

Clinical study. Clinical trial. Clinical protocol. They all mean the same thing - a scientific study of how a new medicine or treatment works in people. Through clinical studies, doctors find new and better ways to prevent, detect, diagnose, control, and treat illnesses.

What is an Institutional Review Board (IRB)?

An IRB is charged with assisting in the protection of the rights and welfare of people involved in research. There are 4 committees at UTHSC (Memphis) that review research involving human subjects. Before any research-related procedures may begin, the IRB must review and approve the study protocol, the informed consent document(s), as well as any other study-related materials.

Questions to ask if you are thinking about becoming a research participant:

  • 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 it cost me anything personally?

Last Published: Sep 30, 2016