Research and Clinical Trials

Resources at HRPP for Participants

What Is Research?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) §46.102, defines research as “a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.” Any activities and/or projects that meet this definition are considered research.

There are many reasons to participate in research, such as helping others or contributing to scientific progress in improving a health or societal condition.

Participating in research is a voluntary process. You are free to decline to participate for any reason. You may also stop participating at any time or refuse to answer any individual questions. Even after you sign the consent form, you can stop. Should you decide to decline or stop participating, this decision will in no way influence any services to which you are otherwise entitled.

Another way to look at research, "a process of steps used to collect and analyze information to increase our understanding of a topic or issue"(Creswell, J.W. (2008). Educational Research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson). We can achieve this by posing a question, collecting data to answer the question, and using the information gathered, provide an answer to the question.

Already Participating?

Should you experience any medical problems, please communicate with your study team and if necessary, contact the appropriate emergency services.

If you have questions about your participation in a research study you should first contact the Principal Investigator (PI) or study team member listed at the phone number/email on your consent form, information sheet or contact sheet that you were given when you enrolled in the study to try to discuss/resolve the concern.

The HRPP serves as a resource to research participants. Concerns and complaints are taken very seriously and are treated with the utmost respect and all possible confidentiality.


Contact Lifespan Public Relations

Contact HRPP at Lifespan

If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome, are unable to receive a response after an appropriate amount of time, or have a concern about your participation that you do not wish to discuss with the PI or study team member, you can call the HRPP at 401-444-6246 or email

Participant Information

The Office of Human Research Protection (OHRP) has compiled external resources about research and research participation. These resources provide additional information and reflect a range of perspectives and experiences.