What are Research Studies?

Research Studies help doctors and researchers to find new and better ways to understand, detect, control, and treat illness.

Research is how scientists and other professionals obtain information to answer questions that they hope will benefit society.

A clinical research study, often known as a clinical trial, is a way to find answers to difficult scientific or health questions.  Results from these studies can lead to the approval of new medicines to treat diseases such as cancer.

Research Studies can range from being small and locally based, to worldwide efforts enrolling thousands of participants.  Participants might have a specific disease or condition, or they may be healthy volunteers.

Additional resources

OHRP has created a series of short videos with information about how research works, what questions you should consider asking, and things to think about when deciding whether to participate in a study.

Why Participate in Research Studies?

Maybe you or a loved one has an illness, and you'd like to help scientists find a treatment or cure. If you're healthy, you can help researchers learn more about how the body works or how sickness can be prevented.

Research affects our everyday lives – ranging from the medicine we take to the health of our families. Becoming a research participant is a gift you give of yourself to benefit your family, your community and the health of people everywhere. Research needs Healthy Volunteers as well as those with medical conditions.

Although you may find taking part in research to be a rewarding experience, it’s important to remember that the goal of research is not to help you individually.  Although some research might benefit you as a volunteer, other research may not.

Be a Partner in Clinical Research (National Institutes of Health)

What Do I Need to Know Before I Participate?

Be sure you understand what happens during the study, the type of health care you will receive, any related costs, and the benefits and risks of participating.

A clinical research study is different from regular medical care.  Unlike medical care, when your Doctors make decisions about the goal of treating your disease or condition the best they can, research seeks to answer a research question. The researchers might not be able to treat you as they would if you were their patient.

In some studies, researchers need to compare healthy volunteers with people who have a specific disease or condition. Research with healthy volunteers is designed to develop new knowledge, not to provide direct benefit to study participants.

Don't be afraid to ask the research team for more information and talk with them about your concerns.  It is their job to provide you with the information you need to make your decision.

More information:

What Happens After a Study is Completed?

After a study is completed, the researchers carefully examine the information collected in order to make decisions about what it means, and they often publish the results.

Results from clinical trials are often published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Peer review is a process by which experts review the report before it is published to ensure that the analysis and conclusions are sound. If the results are particularly important, they may be featured in the news, and discussed at scientific meetings and by patient advocacy groups before or after they are published in a scientific journal. Once a new approach has been proven safe and effective in a clinical trial, it may become a new standard of medical practice.

Ask the research team members if the study results have been or will be published. Published study results are also available by searching for the study's official name or Protocol ID number in the National Library of Medicine's PubMed® database.

Clinical Research at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus

With two nationally ranked partner hospitals on the campus and hundreds of millions of dollars in research grants, the CU Anschutz Medical Campus is home to many groundbreaking medical discoveries. Learn more about our campus, our researchers, and what we are researching.

What if I Have Questions?

  • If you have questions about a study you are participating in, please contact the study coordinator or investigator.
  • If you have any questions, problems or concerns about any research being conducted on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus or the Denver campus, you can send feedback to Alison Lakin, Associate Vice Chancellor for Regulatory Compliance.​​​
  • If you have questions about your rights as someone in a research study, or concerns about your experience as a research participant, please contact the Colorado Multiple Institutional Review Board (COMIRB) Help Desk by phone at 303-724-1055 or by e-mail at COMIRB@cuanschutz.edu.
  • If you have specific questions about this website or how to promote your study on this website please email researchstudies@cuanschutz.edu.