PARTAKE survey of public knowledge and perceptions of clinical research in India

PLoS One. 2013 Jul 16;8(7):e68666. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068666. Print 2013.


Background: A public that is an informed partner in clinical research is important for ethical, methodological, and operational reasons. There are indications that the public is unaware or misinformed, and not sufficiently engaged in clinical research but studies on the topic are lacking. PARTAKE - Public Awareness of Research for Therapeutic Advancements through Knowledge and Empowerment is a program aimed at increasing public awareness and partnership in clinical research. The PARTAKE Survey is a component of the program.

Objective: To study public knowledge and perceptions of clinical research.

Methods: A 40-item questionnaire combining multiple-choice and open-ended questions was administered to 175 English- or Hindi-speaking individuals in 8 public locations representing various socioeconomic strata in New Delhi, India.

Results: Interviewees were 18-84 old (mean: 39.6, SD ± 16.6), 23.6% female, 68.6% employed, 7.3% illiterate, 26.3% had heard of research, 2.9% had participated and 58.9% expressed willingness to participate in clinical research. The following perceptions were reported (% true/% false/% not aware): 'research benefits society' (94.1%/3.5%/2.3%), 'the government protects against unethical clinical research' (56.7%/26.3%/16.9%), 'research hospitals provide better care' (67.2%/8.7%/23.9%), 'confidentiality is adequately protected' (54.1%/12.3%/33.5%), 'participation in research is voluntary' (85.3%/5.8%/8.7%); 'participants treated like 'guinea pigs'' (20.7%/53.2%/26.0%), and 'compensation for participation is adequate' (24.7%/12.9%/62.3%).

Conclusions: Results suggest the Indian public is aware of some key features of clinical research (e.g., purpose, value, voluntary nature of participation), and supports clinical research in general but is unaware of other key features (e.g., compensation, confidentiality, protection of human participants) and exhibits some distrust in the conduct and reporting of clinical trials. Larger, cross-cultural surveys are required to inform educational programs addressing these issues.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomedical Research*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Public Opinion*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult