Information for Research Participants

What is research?

Research is a process to discover new knowledge. It includes planning and conducting a study to see if an answer to a research question can be found.

What is human subjects research?

There are different types of research. Human subject research involves studies with people or samples and data that can identify people. Some research is designed to see if this knowledge can help people in the study.  Other research is not designed to directly help current participants but is intended to hopefully gain information that can be used to help people in the future. 

What is the NIH Institutional Review Board (IRB)?

The NIH Institutional Review Board (IRB) helps protect the rights, privacy and welfare of people participating in studies done by NIH researchers.

The IRB reviews all research involving human participants before the research can begin. The NIH IRB follows specific federal regulations that govern reviewing and approving research involving humans.

The IRB has at least five members of varying backgrounds. The Board will include at least one member who is not connected with NIH and one member who is not a scientist. The IRB also has consultants who help review research studies.

Questions & Concerns about an Ongoing Study at NIH

You can contact OHSRP by phone (301) 402-3713 or by email at Our main office is located at 6700B Rockledge Drive, Suite 4300, Bethesda, MD 20897. 

Please note, if you send information to the email above, please do not include sensitive information or personal health information.