Not To Be Trusted With Knives











{September 18, 2008}   Be a Guinea Pig. You know you want to.

As you know, I love being a participant1 in research studies.  As a scientist myself, I know how difficult it can be to recruit participants, so I thought I’d write a posting about some of the research participation opportunities that are out there.

First up, a friend of Raul‘s (and a colleague of mine) is looking for women who are less than 13 weeks pregnant to take part in a study assessing environmental chemicals & maternal-fetal health (check out Raul’s posting for the deets).

Other research studies looking for willing participants include:

  • The UBC School of Human Kinetics is often looking for people to participate in their research studies – you can check out their site for a list of current opportunities.
  • Researchers in my old department (Nutrition @ UBC) are looking for healthy woman in Vancouver aged 50 to 65 years for a study on dietary fats and chronic disease – check out this site for more info.

And if you don’t even want to have to get up from your computer to become a research guinea pig, why not check out Steven Pinker’s website2, as he often has online survey research projects on the go3.

Have you ever been a research participant? If so, what did you think of your experience?

1The PC word is “participant” rather than the traditional research “subject,” as it recognizes that the people who are being researched are actively and willingly participating, rather than being “subjected” to the research
2Dr. Pinker just so happens to be giving a public lecture in Vancouver this month: “The Stuff of Thought: Language As a Window Into Human Nature”
3At the time of writing this posting, he had a “Violence perception questionnaire” on his site.

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Karen says:

The most interesting study I ever did was a medical consent study at Dalhousie. They were testing whether it was better to give people pain meds before or after getting their consent for major surgery.

They simulated “pain” by cutting off the bloodflow to my arm with a rubber tie and making me squeeze a tennis ball. It was WAY more painful than I expected. On a scale of 1 to 10 i would say it was actually an 8 or 9 for me (if I said 10 the protocol was that they had to stop the study)!

During the second half of the trial I got IV opiates to dull the pain. That was MUCH better.



Beth says:

Yeah, any experiment where I see “pain” in the protocol, I’m going to give a pass! I saw an ad once for a study where they were going to put people upside down… something about simulating pain & anesthetic… um, no thanks!

Did you find out what the results of the study you took part in were? Should you give pain meds and *then* get consent, or the other way around?



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