Frequently Asked Questions

Asking questions is an important part of participating in research!  Here are answers to some questions that will help you find out more about participating in research at IBAS.   If you are interested in a specific project you'll be given written information about the project and have opportunities to ask questions directly of the researchers.   

Why do people choose to participate?
Who can volunteer to participate?
How do I find out more about participating?
What happens when I volunteer to participate?
What are my rights and responsibilities as a participant?

 

Why do people choose to participate?

Every research project is different and there is no guarantee that you will receive a direct benefit from volunteering to participate.

Reasons that others have chosen to participate are:

  • Learning more about your health condition
  • Playing an active role in your health care
  • Potentially accessing new assessments or treatments
  • Contributing to the development of health care
  • The ‘feel good’ factor - knowing that the knowledge gained may help others in the future

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Who can volunteer to participate?

There are four main groups of people that IBAS research projects are regularly looking for:

  • Healthy adults – healthy people are important as some research makes comparisons between those who are healthy and those who are unwell.
  • People with respiratory conditions
  • People with sleep conditions
  • People who are shiftworkers

Each project has a set of guidelines about who is eligible to participate (known as ‘inclusion criteria’). Even if you are very keen to participate in a particular project you need to find out first whether you meet these guidelines.

You may be reading this after being approached to participate because you attend the Austin Hospital for medical care. If so, you can be assured that Austin Health strongly supports research and that your usual medical care will not be affected by your decision about whether or not to participate.

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How do I find out more about participating?

This website has details of projects that are currently looking for participants.  If you are interested in a particular project please click on the Coordinators Name to send them an email listing your name, date of birth, suburb and daytime phone number.

If you are interested in finding out about future research, please complete the contact form.  Don’t worry if you don’t hear back from us immediately. You will get a confirmation email that your details have been received but otherwise you will only hear from one of our researchers once there is a potentially suitable project.

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What happens when I volunteer to participate?

The first step is that you will be told more about the project and, possibly, asked to answer a few basic questions to check that you might be eligible to participate.

Then you will be given detailed information (in a format known as a ‘Participant Information and Consent Form). You are welcome to take as much time as you need to read this, ask questions and discuss the project with your family or doctor. This is a ‘no obligation’ step – many people decide not to participate at this stage. If you are satisfied that you wish you to participate, the next step is to sign the consent form (you’ll receive a copy of it for your records).

What happens then depends on the project and you’ll know all about this by this stage. To give you an idea though, some projects require a one-off visit whereas others will require a number of visits over weeks or months. Some projects involve mainly questionnaires whereas others involve blood and other investigative tests, attending regular sessions or sleeping for one or more nights sleeping in a sleep laboratory.

It is important to remember that you can change your mind and stop participating at any time – just let the researcher know.

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What are my rights and responsibilities as a participant?

Your wellbeing is top priority for researchers. You can expect to:

  • Have your privacy and confidentiality protected at all times
  • To be fully informed about the project and be able to ask questions at any time
  • To be able to withdraw from participating in the study without affecting your usual health care.
  • Most projects cover the cost of parking or public transport costs. Some projects reimburse you for your time.

Whilst you are participating, we ask you to

  • Answer all questions fully and honestly
  • Attend all appointments and follow all the research guidelines
  • Let the research staff know if any of your circumstances change that might affect your participation (for example, going away for a holiday during the project time)
  • Immediately inform research staff if you develop any unexpected symptoms
  • Let us know if there is anything you don’t understand or would like more information about

Ultimately, volunteering to participate in research is a personal decision that can only be made once you have all the information available and, if relevant, you have spoken with family and your doctor or other health professionals.

All IBAS research is approved by the Austin Health Human Research Ethics Committee.  Ethics committees are made up of health care experts, lawyers and community representatives. Their work is to ensure that research projects are safe, worthwhile and conducted according to international standards.



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