The Role of Accreditation

Tip Sheets

AAHRPP was established to promote accreditation as a way to improve the quality of research and protect research participants. Organizations that attain accreditation do so voluntarily. They agree to adhere to research standards that, in many cases, are stricter than those set by the federal government.

Why you should choose an accredited organization:

If you’re thinking of participating in a research study, it’s important to check if the organization conducting the research is accredited. Here’s why: 

  • AAHRPP accreditation means you can trust the researcher to put your safety and well-being above all else.
  • To earn accreditation, an organization must undergo a rigorous evaluation process, including a thorough site visit by experts in human research protection. To keep its accreditation, the organization must submit annual reports to AAHRPP and must undergo site visits every three years.
  • AAHRPP-accredited organizations must have systems in place to monitor the well-being of research participants.
  • AAHRPP-accredited organizations are required to perform participant outreach. They must involve participants in the research process, must answer your questions, and address any concerns you may have. Before you begin a study, the organization must explain the research to you – including its potential benefits and risks – and obtain your permission in writing. This is known as informed consent.
  • AAHRPP-accredited organizations must have policies to guard against conflict of interest. That means researchers cannot be involved in studies that could benefit them financially.

How can you tell if an organization is accredited?

A list of accredited organizations is available on our Web site. Many accredited organizations also display the AAHRPP seal on their Web sites and publications. And, of course, if you’re speaking with someone about a particular study, don’t be afraid to ask about accreditation.