Information for Participants

Become a participant in research at Indiana University

Would you like to take part in a research study at IU?

Research is an important way for scientists to learn about and test new theories, equipment, procedures, and medical therapies. Many research projects require the help of volunteers who agree to offer their time and personal information to scientists. Research studies that involve human volunteers are conducted in many different disciplines and focus on human behavior, educational mechanisms, social issues, and diagnosis and treatment of disease, among other things.

A committee of individuals called an Institutional Review Board (IRB) must review all research that plans to involve human participants. The IRB ensures the safety of participants and ethical study design. IU has multiple IRBs that provide this review for all research conducted at IU and our affiliates.

The Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP), a federal office which works to protect the rights, welfare, and wellbeing of volunteers who participate in research, provides a series of short informational videos to help potential participants understand how research works, what questions they should consider asking, and things to think about when deciding whether to participate in a study.

Before you participate

Participating in research is voluntary, so before the research begins, you may have to agree to participate. This process of seeking your agreement is called “informed consent.” During the informed consent process, researchers educate potential research participants about the research project and ask whether they want to participate.

Informed consent can be a very simple process, such as reading a paragraph of information before taking a survey. It may also be more involved, depending on the research. For example, medical research projects often involve a face-to-face conversation with the research team before you agree to participate.

Here are some questions to ask before you agree to participate in a research project:

  • The purpose of the research
  • What will be done to you as part of the research
  • Whether or not you will benefit from participating in research
  • Whether the research might expose you to risk
  • How long the study will last
  • What the researchers will do with your information

The Participant Bill of Rights

For information about your rights as a study volunteer, read the Participant Bill of Rights.

What You Need to Know Before Participating: Participant Bill of Rights

Any volunteer who gives his or her consent to participate in a clinical trial or who is asked to give his or her consent on behalf of another has the following rights:

  • To be told the purpose of the clinical trial.
  • To be told all the risks, side effects or discomforts that might be reasonably expected.
  • To be told of any benefits that can be reasonably expected.
  • To be told what will happen in the study and whether any procedures, drugs or devices are different than those that are used as standard medical treatment.
  • To be told about options available and how they may be better or worse than being in a clinical trial.
  • To be allowed to ask any questions about the trial before giving consent and at any time during the course of the study.
  • To be allowed ample time, without pressure, to decide whether to consent or not to consent to participate.
  • To be told of any medical treatments available if complications occur during the trial.
  • To receive a signed and dated copy of the informed consent form.
  • To refuse to participate, for any reason, before and after the trial has started.

The Participant Bill of Rights is provided courtesy of The Center for Information & Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP).

Report a research participation concern

If you have any concerns about a research study you have been asked to participate in or have participated in, the IU Human Subjects Office can help resolve your issues or concerns related to research studies. You may reach us via email at irb@iu.edu or via phone at 800-696-2949.

If you prefer to report a research compliance concern to Indiana University anonymously, you may do so using an online EthicsPoint form or by calling 888-236-7542.

How to participate at IU

If you are interested in participating in research at IU, consider joining the registry of volunteers interested in health-related research at INresearch.org.

Research studies that need volunteers may also advertise around campus, on radio, television, or on social media. If you are a medical patient at IU or one of its affiliates, a care provider may tell you about a research study and ask if you are interested in participating.

You are never required to participate in research. Declining or withdrawing from research will never affect your relationship with your care provider.

Contact

The Indiana University Human Subjects Office provides administrative support to all IU campuses and maintains physical offices in two locations, Indianapolis and Bloomington.

Indianapolis (Main):

Human Subjects Office
Office of Research Compliance
Indiana University
Lockefield Village, 3rd Floor
980 Indiana Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46202
  • Phone: (317) 274-8289
  • Email: irb@iu.edu

Bloomington:

Human Subjects Office
Office of Research Compliance
Indiana University
Carmichael Center, Room 203
530 E. Kirkwood Avenue
Bloomington, Indiana 47408
  • Phone: (812) 856-4242
  • Email: irb@iu.edu