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Why People Participate in Research


Think of the medical knowledge you benefit from each day. Every medicine or treatment you use was made possible by clinical research volunteers like you.

There are many reasons you might want to participate.

Research at Mass General Brigham

You want to learn more about your own health

When you take part in research, you might learn more about your own health conditions, treatments. You might also learn more about your personal health.


You are looking for treatments that are not available in regular care

If you have a serious health condition, you may look to research to find treatment options when available care has not worked. Volunteer treatment and progress is closely monitored, and you might get access to care that you otherwise would not have. Some studies give volunteers access to new treatments that are not yet available to the public. You may or may not benefit from the medicines or treatments being studied. Even if you do not receive treatments or receive a placebo, you might benefit in the future from the discoveries you help scientists make now.


You want to honor a friend or family member

You might participate to honor a friend or family member with a medical condition. Studies often need a control group of people who do not have the condition or do not receive treatment to compare to those who do. Volunteering as a healthy volunteer is a way to honor a friend or family member and help research that might benefit your loved ones in the future.


You want to further knowledge of health and illness

Study volunteers can help researchers learn more about health and illness. This leads to the discovery of new conditions and treatments and better understanding of existing conditions and treatments. It improves the way doctors take care of patients.


You might be compensated for your time

Though many volunteers want to participate for one of the reasons above, you might also receive money, gift cards, parking or meal vouchers, or other items to thank you for your time and effort.


Hear from volunteers like you

Research at Mass General Brigham


"I took part in a smoking study in college. They paid for my cigarettes and my time, and I really needed the money, but also I liked that something I was already doing every day could contribute to important research and help people."

Research participant


"I was one of the first children to have my large intestine and rectum removed. They wanted to know what life was like after for the kids. Just got out of it a few years ago, actually. It was good. I had a million surveys to fill out, but I also was able to meet and talk to others with my same condition, which helped both sides. And I had blood tests, biopsies, and monitoring, which could be slightly time consuming, but it helped for future generations."

Sandra K.


"My participation in a muscle study that helped pay for a semester of books. I did a handful of studies for fun."

Ryan Y.


"I was in a migraine clinical trial. I loved it because the medicine worked for me. I hate that it’s not commercially available yet!"

Amy B.




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