Deciding to Participate

Tip Sheets

The decision to participate in a research study is a personal one. Certainly, it’s helpful to discuss your options with your physician and your family. But ultimately the choice is yours – and very often it comes down to whether you believe the potential benefits of the study outweigh the potential risks.

There are a number of reasons why people choose to participate in research:

  • Some suffer from life-threatening medical conditions and view research as their last hope. So they agree to help test new drugs or medical devices in research studies known as clinical trials. 
  • Some have chronic medical conditions and know that many of the treatments which improve their quality of life were made possible by past research. They choose to participate in research studies as a way to repay those who came before them – and to improve the lives of those who will come after. If their medical condition is inherited, they have a vested interest: if the research is successful, it could benefit future generations of their own family. 
  • Some feel strongly about the importance of research and the value of its findings. They choose to participate to advance knowledge and understanding, not just about science and medicine, but also about the human condition – how and why people respond to one another and the world around us.
Of course, there are other reasons as well. But no matter what the reason, it’s important that your decision not be made lightly. For helpful information on what to look for when considering a research study, visit our Links to resources. And remember, in any study, your safety and well-being should come first.