Volunteer Frequently Asked Questions
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. All too often important research studies end early because there are too few research participants in the study. At the same time, people are looking for research studies but are having difficult time finding them. As a result, important questions that can affect the health of our community go unanswered. ResearchMatch helps this problem by connecting people who want to participate in studies get connected with the research studies that may be a good ‘match’ for them through its secure, online matching tool.
ResearchMatch may help reduce the time that you spend searching for research studies that interest you. ResearchMatch may also help you learn more about the research in your community by matching you with a researcher in your area. Your participation has the potential to positively impact the future research for everyone.
What to expect?
After you register, your profile (without the contact information) will be searchable by researchers who are authorized to use ResearchMatch. If a researcher thinks your profile matches their study’s needs, you may receive a message through ResearchMatch from that researcher that tells you a bit more information about the study. You may easily respond Yes or No if you wish to learn more. A yes response will release your contact information to the researcher so they may contact you directly with more information. A no response will keep your contact information hidden. Please remember that even if you respond yes through ResearchMatch, you are never obligated to participate in a study. You can learn more about the voluntary nature of ResearchMatch by clicking here.
How many calls you get will be up to you! When you create your ResearchMatch profile, your contact details are ‘hidden’ from researchers that are searching the registry for possible matches to their studies. Researchers actually send their first message about their study to you through ResearchMatch via email and we route this message to you without the researcher knowing who you are. This way, it is your decision if you wish for your contact information to be shown to the researcher or not after you read more about their study. If you ask that your contact information be revealed to the researcher, then the researcher will have your contact information and then will share more details about their study if you appear to qualify. Please read the Volunteer Agreement for more information.
You will be contacted as soon as you are matched with a research study. Please remember though that ResearchMatch cannot guarantee that you will actually be contacted by any researchers, although it is certainly our hope that these contacts will occur.
No, you will never have to participate in a study. It is always your choice!
You can remove yourself from ResearchMatch at any time. You simply login to your profile and select this option. Once you do this, all of your identifiable information will be removed and future researchers who are searching the registry will not be able to search for you. However, you may still be able to be contacted by those researchers you have already released your contact information to through ResearchMatch.
Anyone from the United States, including Puerto Rico, can join ResearchMatch. All ages and backgrounds are welcome. A parent, legal guardian or caretaker may register someone under the age of 18 or an adult that may not be able to enter in their own information.
Research needs healthy volunteers as well as those with medical conditions. ResearchMatch encourages everyone who is interested to join.
No, you do not need to have health insurance to join ResearchMatch. But you may want or need to have health insurance before participating in a medical research study. Please talk to the study team before you begin a study.
No, ResearchMatch does not ask you for a Social Security number or ask questions about your immigration status. Your identity and the contact information that you share with ResearchMatch is kept confidential until you choose to share it with a research team so that they can contact you and tell you more about a study or survey. Please see the privacy statement for more information.
But you may need a social security number to get a gift card, or other compensation/payment after taking part in a survey, or a research study. Ask the study team if you need a Social Security number before you take part in their study.
ResearchMatch is a not-for-profit activity and is free to join.
Privacy and Protections
ResearchMatch takes your privacy very seriously. ResearchMatch is a secure, central database that will store your information if you wish to be matched with research studies, now or in the future. All ResearchMatch data that is sent between the web server and browsers will be coded (encrypted) using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protection. Another protection is that ResearchMatch will not release your personal contact information until you have given permission for that release. The ResearchMatch registry is a collaborative project between all participating sites, but is maintained at Vanderbilt and overseen by the Vanderbilt Institutional Review Board. ResearchMatch will never sell, rent or lease your personal information. Please read our privacy statement for more details.
There is a potential risk of loss of confidentiality of your profile information, but ResearchMatch makes many efforts to keep your personal information private, secure, and confidential until you allow us to release it. You can learn more about the steps ResearchMatch takes to protect your confidentiality by reading our privacy statement. There may also be a chance you could be inconvenienced by receiving too many emails from researchers using ResearchMatch when your anonymous profile is ‘matched’ with their research studies. If you feel that you are getting too many emails, you can always remove yourself from ResearchMatch by logging in to your profile and selecting this option. Once you do this, all of your identifiable information will be removed and future researchers who are searching the registry will not be able to search for you. However, you may still be able to be contacted by those researchers you have already released your contact information to through ResearchMatch.
ResearchMatch is not a study but a research study-matching tool. We do not directly provide payment for joining. Some studies on ResearchMatch may give compensation but we cannot confirm which studies will provide compensation and which will not. It is your decision to release your contact information to studies that may interest you if you decide to join as a ResearchMatch volunteer.
Updating my information
You can change your profile at any time. You only have to login with your unique username and password to make these changes.
No, ResearchMatch will help match any type of approved study that is looking for people to participate in their study. You may be contacted about different research opportunities ranging from a survey you can do at home to a clinical trial that may involve you traveling to the researcher’s institution.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) gives you more information about taking part in research. To learn more, please visit: www.nih.gov/health-information/nih-clinical-research-trials-you/basics.
For general questions or comments, please feel free contact us. Your suggestions about how we can improve this resource for you are always welcome!