Motivational factors for participation in biomedical research: evidence from a qualitative study of biomedical research participation in Blantyre District, Malawi

J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics. 2015 Feb;10(1):59-64. doi: 10.1177/1556264614559888. Epub 2014 Nov 26.


Obtaining effective informed consent from research participants is a prerequisite to the conduct of an ethically sound research. Yet it is believed that obtaining quality informed consent is generally difficult in settings with low socioeconomic status. This is so because of the alleged undue inducements and therapeutic misconception among participants. However, there is a dearth of data on factors that motivate research participants to take part in research. Hence, this study was aimed at filling this gap in the Malawian context. We conducted 18 focus group discussions with community members in urban and rural communities of Blantyre in Malawi. Most participants reported that they accepted the invitation to participate in research because of better quality treatment during study also known as ancillary care, monetary and material incentives given to participants, and thorough medical diagnosis.

Keywords: biomedical research; consent; focus group discussions; motivation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomedical Research / ethics*
  • Comprehension
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent / ethics*
  • Malawi
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Poverty*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Research Subjects*
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Rural Population
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Population