Volunteering in Research


NEW -  Important Information for Investigators with International Collaborations

Volunteer in Research



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Are You Thinking About Being in a Research Study?


Discovery of new treatments for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and other conditions are only possible because of YOU. These discoveries have the potential to better your life, the life of a loved one, and the lives of millions of people you may never meet.

Our Best discovery may be you!

Can you be in research if you are not sick?

People of all health levels, including healthy volunteers are needed for research studies. Without both, clinical studies would not be possible.

Will you be safe?

Safety is our FIRST priority at Stony Brook. All studies have undergone rigorous safety reviews before participants can sign up. Before you volunteer, you would have all of the benefits and risks fully explained to you so you could make an informed decision about participating.

How do you sign up?

You can sign up as a volunteer with the Stony Brook Office of Clinical Trials and/or create a profile on ResearchMatch.org to be contacted by study investigators nationwide.

Where can you find out more?

Please visit our website: Overview of Volunteering in Research



Overview of Volunteering in Research

Stony Brook University supports medical advances for our patients through safe and ethical research involving volunteers like you from our surrounding community. Stony Brook University assures the safety and welfare of our research participant is accredited through the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, Inc. (AAHRPP). Stony Brook also has an approved assurance of compliance with the federal Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP).

These pages are intended to provide more information to you on what it means to be a volunteer in research activities, as well as how to actually participate in approved research studies conducted at Stony Brook University. 

See the right hand side of the page to view more information and videos related to research.

Who do I contact if I have concern/question about a study in which I am volunteering?

As an additional effort to protect volunteers in research, if you are already a research participant, the ORC welcomes input and concerns regarding our Research Compliance program. 

To express a concern, pose a question, or to report possible noncompliance for a study you are volunteering for, please email orc_clinicaltrials@stonybrook.edu

All reports are reviewed and serve as one mechanism to investigate concerns/complaints regarding human subject research, investigators, and even the IRB process. 

Clinical Trials at Stony Brook

​The Office of Clinical Trials at Stony Brook provides information and resources for those wanting to volunteer in research. 

ClinicalTrials.gov is a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world. 




Research Study

Research is a scientific study of nature that includes processes involved in health and disease. Research studies that involve people are called clinical trials. Clinical trials can help to screen, prevent, diagnose and treat disease. This type of study can also examine outcomes and specific groups of people by analyzing collected data (NCI 2015). A research study may also ask survey question and explore a particular behavior.

Research Subject

A research subject is a person who decides to participate in a research study. This is completely voluntary. You are helping the researcher look at the questions he/she wants to study. You can quit the study any time you want to. 

Research Protocol 

All research studies follow a protocol.  A protocol is like a cookbook.  It tells the researcher what can and cannot be done when he/she is conducting the study. All this is done to protect the research subject and this protocol is reviewed by the Institutional Review Board (IRB).

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria

Each study has a list of who can and cannot be included in that study. This is written in the protocol. In order to protect research subjects only people who qualify can be in the study. 

Principal Investigator (PI) 

The PI, or Principal Investigator, is the person who conducts the research study. The PI is also the person who is responsible for making sure everything is done properly. Along with the PI, there may be other persons who help with the study. For example, if it is a medical study, there may be a nurse involved in conducting the study. There are also people who look at all the data that is collected in the study and other individuals involved in operating the study.

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) is made up of a group of people such as scientists, doctors and some people within the community. The IRB looks at every protocol or research study before it is conducted on people. Because some research studies involve risk, the IRB looks at the study to make sure the risks are justified and minimized. In addition, the IRB wants to make sure the Principal Investigator follows all the rules the federal government has set up to protect human subjects who so kindly volunteer to participate in a research study.

Informed Consent

If you decided to volunteer in a research study, the information about the study will be given to you in a consent form. This is to help you understand exactly what will happen to you in the research study. It is designed to help you decide if you want to participate, or not participate, in the study. The informed consent will outline all the rights you have as a volunteer in a research study. 

As a research volunteer, it is helpful to read the consent form because it can help you come up with questions you may want to ask about your voluntary participation in the study. You will be told about all the risks, any benefits that may exist and even alternative options to the study. 

After reading the consent you can make your final decision about participating in the proposed study.


Randomization is a process that ensures that each volunteer in a research study has a equal chance of receiving any of the treatments given in a particular study.

Intervention Group

A group in a study that receives the drug or treatment being tested. The intervention could include behavior changes such as diet and exercise or medical procedures or devices. The intervention group is also known as an experimental or investigative group. (NCI 2015)

Control Group

A group that does not recieve any form of treatment that is being studied. The control group is compared to the group receiving a form of treatment (intervention group) to see if the treatment was effective. (NCI 2015)

Single and Double Blind Studies 

A single blind study is a study where only the researcher and/or medical staff know which treatment or intervention the participants receive. A double blind study is a study where the researcher and/or medical staff do not know which treatment or intervention the participants receive. 

Clinical Trial 

A clinical trial is a prospective biomedical or behavioral research study of participants meant to answer specific questions about interventions (drugs, treatments, devices, or new ways of using knowns drugs, treatments, or devices). Clinical trieals are used to see if new interventions are safe, efficacious, and effective.  A clinical trial proceeds through four phases.  The first phase tests a new biomedical intervention in a small group of people to assess the efficacy and safety of the intervention. The second phase tests the new intervention on a large group of people to further assess the efficacy and saftey of the intervention. The third phase further tests the efficacy of the new intervention in a large gorup of people and compares the intervention to other standard interventions. This phase also tracks adverse effects and ensures the intervention will be used safely. The fourth phase is conducted after the intervention is on the market and the approved intervention is monitored for its effectiveness in the general population. 



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