Participants: How To Find the Best Studies

If you want to participate in research studies, you may have one or more of these motivations:

  1. Making money;
  2. Contributing to science;
  3. Helping to find a cure for a disease;
  4. Researching a cure from a disease you have;
  5. Giving opinions that influence product design or policy; and/or
  6. Socializing with other people.

All are good reasons to participate, and different studies will speak to those motivations. But how do you find and then get selected for the best studies? Whether you know it or not, your participation is important to the researcher, and you are a valuable part of their research. Without you, that research won’t happen or it will miss an important aspect that you could have contributed. So how do you ensure that you and that researcher connect?

First, look for a study that fits your goals. If you are looking for a novel medication for depression, read the study carefully and make sure that:

  1. it’s close enough to your home that you will be able to travel to the office/lab;
  2. you are comfortable with the length of time or visits that are required for the study;
  3. you understand that studies often run an experimental group (you get the new drug) and a control group (you get a placebo) – you won’t necessarily be in the experimental group.

Second, look for a reputable researcher or organization that informs you of the study. Avoid researchers who won’t contact you back in a reasonable time or don’t keep your information confidential. It’s very frustrating to spend hours signing up for studies and filling out questionnaires, only to never hear back from the researcher.

Also, know that you are entitled to “informed consent”. This means that a researcher will inform you of:

  1. the purpose of the research,
  2. the benefits and risks involved in participating,
  3. what in general you’ll be asked to do and how long it will take,
  4. who you should contact if you have questions, and
  5. the compensation (if any) that you’ll receive. Also, understand that you are always free to not participate in a study and can stop participating at any time later on.

Finally, let researchers find you. It’s hard to know all the studies going on around you that you may be qualified for, but researchers are out there every day looking for your demographic, opinions, and behaviors. You are a potential participant; you may be the key for the next drug, the next soft drink, or the next political advertisement. Don’t just sit there. Sign up to participate and make a difference!


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Participants: How To Find the Best Studies

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