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Participant Rights

The Northwestern University (NU) IRB Office is responsible by federal law for ensuring the protection of the rights, welfare, and well-being of participants involved in research studies conducted by NU faculty, staff and students. If you are a participant, you may contact the IRB with a question or concern.

One way this is accomplished is by having all research studies reviewed by an Institutional Review Board (IRB).  The IRB carefully reviews and monitors research to ensure that it is carried out legally and ethically.  Research studies cannot be started until the IRB has approved the study. 

Every research participant has the following rights:

  • To be treated with respect, including respect for your decision whether or not you wish to enroll in, continue in, or stop being in a study.
  • To choose to stop being in a study at any time.
  • To be given time to read the consent form and have the research study explained to you
  • To be given time to ask questions, and to be told whom you can contact if you have any more questions.
  • To be given a copy of the consent form after you have signed it.

Questions that you should ask before you agree to participate in a research study:

  • Why is the research being done?
  • What will be done to me as part of the research?
  • How will I benefit from the research?
  • Could the research hurt me?
  • What will the researcher do with my information?
  • Will the research cost me anything?
  • Who pays if I’m unexpectedly injured in the study?
  • How long will the study last?
  • What happens if I decide to leave the study early?

US Ethical Codes & Regulations