Research FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

A research study, also known as a trial or research experiment, is a way for physicians, researchers and scientists to collect and study information about a specific topic or concept.

Research provides opportunities to build the foundation for the future of health care. The knowledge gained from research provides crucial insight into the development of new treatments. The vaccines that help prevent diseases, new cancer treatments, and medications that help manage diabetes or blood pressure are all examples of widely used medical treatments that are the outcome of clinical research. We would not have these medications available to us today without the efforts of research.

Most advances in research are made possible by the willingness of individuals to participate in research studies. Research studies need a variety of people to volunteer. Volunteering to be involved in a research study means you may receive new treatment options. While it is possible that you will not directly benefit from the study, you will be helping the development of medical therapies and treatments for people in the future.

Informed Consent is a process that starts prior to your actual participation in a research study and continues throughout your participation. The informed consent process is conducted to ensure a participant is provided information such as:

If you are interested in medical research about a specific disease or condition, you should speak with your physician about research studies for which you may qualify. You may also visit for a list of studies within Regional Health.

Research Participant's Bill of Rights

Research studies may involve some degree of risk. Some studies will have a minor risk; for example, filling out a survey with personal questions that may make you feel uncomfortable. Other studies may have higher risks; for example, taking study drugs with possible side effects. The research team will explain in detail during the informed consent process, the possible risks to you before you decide to participate in the study.

Not every participant will personally benefit from the research study. In some studies, you may directly benefit from the study drug or procedure. In other studies, you may be in the control group and receive a placebo drug and not notice any benefits. However, research studies provide valuable information, which helps researchers gather information about diseases or conditions. That information may benefit health care as a whole.

Research studies can involve a wide variety of procedures. These might include answering questions, taking trial medicines or using new equipment. A research study can take a few minutes or several years. All procedures, processes, as well as the duration of the study, will be discussed in detail with the participant during the informed consent process.

All research studies are led by a Principal Investigator (PI). A PI is a medical professional who is overseeing the treatment and safety of patients in the research study. The PI may also have a research team. These members can include research assistants, nurses, data coordinators, statisticians and other skilled individuals. All research team members are educated in the protection of the research participants.

Yes. A participant can leave a research study at any time. The process to withdraw from a research study is outlined in the informed consent form.

An Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a committee of scientific, non-scientific and community members who volunteer to review and approve research studies. The IRB considers the risks and benefits to those who participate in research. The main goal of the IRB is to protect the rights and welfare of participants in research.

An Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB is responsible for protecting the rights and welfare of people involved in research.

Most research studies have specific requirements or criteria the participant must meet before being able to participate in the study. The criteria are not used to reject people, but are used to identify the right person for the study and help keep them safe. The criteria also help researchers ensure they will be able to answer the questions they intend to study.