Materials, videos, and resources to support engagement with research participants. Research Subject Advocacy
At a glance
Key Features
  • Access resources to support conversations between research staff and potential participants
  • Download and print brochures (available in translation)
  • Join us for ThinkResearch, a podcast dedicated to exploring the fascinating stories behind research.
Useful for
  • Discussing research participation, including risks, benefits, and participant rights and protections
Available to
  • Investigators, research nurses, study staff, institutions, and individuals considering research participation

The Research Subject Advocacy (RSA) Program serves as a resource to the research community and to research participants. The materials and resources available below support communication between researchers and participants. These resources provide useful information and helpful questions to think about and to ask before deciding to participate in a research study.

Brochure User Guide

The Brochure User Guide [PDF] is designed to introduce a library of available brochures and provide suggestions on how best to use them to support bidirectional communication between research teams and current and prospective participants.


Research Subject Bill of Rights

Before agreeing to participate in a research study, make sure you understand your rights as a research subject, including the right:

  • To be treated with respect
  • To be allowed to ask any questions about the study
  • To be free from pressure when deciding if you want to be in the study
  • To refuse to be in the study or to change your mind

Participating in Acupuncture Studies

  • What is acupuncture?
  • How should I prepare for an acupuncture session?
  • What are the risks of acupuncture?
  • Questions to ask before participating in an acupuncture study

Research Data: How is my information protected and used?

  • What are research data?
  • What are the differences between research data and medical information?
  • Does my research data become part of my medical records?
  • How are my research data protected?
  • Can researchers guarantee my research data will stay protected?
  • Who will see my research data?
  • Questions to ask before agreeing to take part in a study

"Sophie's Science Project: What is Medical Research?"

Developed by Children's Hospital Boston, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

  • Full-color comic book
  • Aims to educate children about medical research and the informed consent process
  • Describes how doctors and scientists work together
  • Can be distributed to children as part of the assent process

Download a PDF

Standard [PDF]

A Participant's Guide to Mental Health Clinical Research

Developed by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

  • A detailed guide to mental health clinical research
  • Answers common questions about volunteering for mental health clinical research
  • Includes basic information on making a decision about participating in clinical research

Download a PDF

Standard [PDF]

Please review the terms of use and citation language [PDF] for the RSA brochures. To request printed copies of any of our brochures please contact us.

A Distributed Model: Redefining a Robust RSA Program

Read more about Harvard Catalyst's RSA model in Clinical and Translational Science.