Public Interest in Medical Research Participation: Does It Matter if Patients or Community Members Have Helped Design the Study?

Clin Transl Sci. 2015 Oct;8(5):502-5. doi: 10.1111/cts.12278. Epub 2015 May 25.


Purpose: We determined national levels of public participation in medical research study design. We compared public interest in medical research participation (MRP) in studies overall, versus studies explicitly designed with public involvement.

Method: Cross-sectional household survey of US population in June 2013. Descriptive statistics estimated participation in medical research study design. Chi-square test compared levels of interest in MRP if respondent knew patients or community members helped design the study.

Results: Of 2,048 respondents (participation rate 60%), 5% knew someone who had helped design a medical research study. There was no association between having known someone or personal participation in study design and willingness to engage in MRP. Although the overall proportion of respondents who would consider MRP initially (51%) was similar to the proportion who would consider MRP with community member involvement in study design (49%), the changes in respondents' views across the different scenarios were significantly greater than what would have been expected by chance.

Conclusions: We found similar levels of interest in MRP whether or not the public is involved in medical research study design. This finding may indicate that public involvement in study design, like community-based participatory research, may not affect overall rates of MRP.

Keywords: clinical trial design; patient engagement; research participation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomedical Research / organization & administration*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Community-Institutional Relations*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Patient Participation*
  • Patient Selection*
  • Public Opinion*
  • Research Subjects / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Young Adult