For Research Participants

If you are currently participating or considering participation in a research project, the following information is intended to better inform you of your rights and where to get answers to questions you may have.

What Is Research?

  • Research is a study that is done to answer a question.
  • Scientists do research because they don’t know for sure what works best to help you or the general population or they want to learn more about a certain topic.
  • Some other words that describe research are: project, protocol, survey, experiment, or clinical trial.
  • Research is not the same as receiving treatment from a physician or mental health care provider. In fact, you may not receive any benefit at all from participating in research.
  • All research at UNL involving human participants is required to be reviewed and approved by the UNL Institutional Review Board (IRB) or the IRB’s administrative staff as part of Research Compliance Services. The IRB is responsible for ensuring the research meets certain Federal regulations.

Participating in research is completely voluntary. Even if you sign up, you can always change your mind and stop participating at any time, for any reason! 

Please watch this short video if you want to learn more about participating in research. 

Questions You May Want To Ask When Deciding to Participate in Research:

  • What exactly will happen to me in the research?
  • Will there be any unpleasant side effects?
  • Will the research help me personally?
  • What other options do I have?
  • Can I leave the study at any time?
  • Will it cost me anything personally?

Please watch this short video to learn more about what questions you may want to ask.

If You Participate in Research, You Have the Right To:

  • Take as much time as needed to make a decision on whether or not to participate, without pressure, from those conducting the research.
  • Ask any questions you may have.
  • Receive a copy of the consent form that you sign.
  • Decide to stop participating at any time for any reason.
  • Be informed of:
    • What the research involves.
    • What you will be asked to do.
    • Any reasonably foreseeable risks or possible benefits of participating.
    • If you will be compensated for your participation.
    • Who will have access to information collected about you and how it will be protected.
    • Whom to contact with questions about the research.

Who Do You Contact?

In general, it is best to contact the researcher or their study team regarding specific questions you may have about the project itself. However, if you would like to speak with someone outside of the research team regarding questions about your participation, obtaining further information, or if you have a concern, complaint, or suggestion please contact the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at 402-472-6965 or via email at

Please keep in mind that the IRB oversees numerous projects for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) that use various modes of communication during recruitment.  If you received a paper consent form, you should see an approval stamp like the image below; however, you may have received consent information via email or online and an approval stamp may not necessarily be included.  When contacting the IRB, if you can reference your IRB number or the study’s Principal Investigator (PI), it will allow us to more efficiently identify how best to help you. 

The approval stamp should look something like this: 

Participant Feedback Survey- We Want to Hear From You!

The UNL Institutional Review Board is committed to protecting the rights and welfare of research participants. We would appreciate your feedback regarding a study that you previously or are currently participating in. The information you provide will be anonymous unless you enter your contact information at the end of the survey. Any information you may provide will be used to improve research conducted at UNL:

Click the link to take the survey:

Additional Resources