For Patients and Research Study Volunteers

What is research?

  • Research is a way to find out the answer to a question.
  • It is not the same as treatment for a disease or problem.
  • Other words that are sometimes used in place of research are clinical trial, protocol and study.

What types of research are there?

  • New drugs or new ways of combining drugs or medicines.
  • New ways to give drugs.
  • New types of surgery, radiation or diagnostic tests.
  • New devices (such as pacemakers, x-rays, equipment used in surgery)
  • New ways to lower the risk of a disease or prevent you from getting a disease.
  • Screening to look for a disease or problem in its early stages.

What questions should I ask before volunteering for a research study?

  • What is the study about?
  • What will I have to do in the study?
  • What tests and/or treatments will be done during the study?
  • How long will I be in the study?
  • Will the research study help me personally?
  • What other options do I have?
  • Will I need to pay anything and will my insurance cover this study?
  • What are the risks to me for being in the study?
  • What are the side effects?
  • Have there been any other studies like this one? What were the results?
  • How can I stop being in the study if I decide to volunteer?

Remember: You have a right to have all your questions answered completely and in a way you understand before you volunteer for the study. Don't sign anything you don't understand.

Where can I go for more information about research and my rights before I become a volunteer?

  • Office of Human Research Protections [OHRP] (U.s. Department of Health & Human Services)
    Toll-free: 866-447-4777
    Web site:
  • Food & Drug Administration [FDA] (U.S.. Department of Health & Human Services)
    Toll-free: 888-463-6332
    Web site:
  • Methodist Healthcare Human Protection Administration

Where can I go to find out what research studies are open in the areas in which I am interested?

Who can I call if I have questions after I volunteer to be in the research study?

  • If you have questions about any part of the study, call the person listed on the informed consent form that you will be given when you volunteer for the research. The informed consent form will have all the information about the study in it.
  • If you have questions about your rights or have a problem that the research study team cannot or will not answer call the Human Protection Administration at Methodist Healthcare at 901-516-2323, or email