Questions to Ask Your PI and PCP

As with any new process, it is extremely important to ask questions of the PI (Principal Investigator of the study) and your PCP (primary care physician). You should never feel embarrassed to ask a question as it will not only improve your understanding of what you're volunteering for, but it will also inform the PI of any concerns you have and uncover elements of the trial that need a better explanation.

In the days before meeting with the PI or your PCP to discuss your involvement in the clinical trial, write down any questions you have, so you don't forget them at your meeting. Listed below are a set of questions that can be used as a starting point:

  • What is the purpose of the study?
  • What will I have to do to participate in the study? If needed, will a schedule be provided for me?
  • Can my condition be improved or worsened if I volunteer as a research participant?
  • What are the potential side effects I could experience?
  • How long will I be required to participate?
  • Will my participation require assistance at home for the administration of drugs or therapies?
  • Who should I contact if I have any concerns about my condition or my participation in the study?
  • Is any additional follow-up required after my participation ends?
  • If I experience negative side effects, what happens?
  • What are the costs associated with participating? Are they covered by my insurance?
  • Is there a specific location where I have to go to participate? Are travel expenses covered?
  • How does my participation aid the purpose of the study?
  • Am I allowed to discuss the nature of this study with loved ones or doctors?

Remember, it is better to ask a question and receive a firm answer than it is to assume you know the answer. The research team is there not only to conduct research, but to support the research participants through the process. Make sure you know who to contact if you have any additional questions or need extra support while participating in the trial. Clinical trials are an imperative step in the evolution of medical science — without dedicated research participants, the process of improving health care and medical science becomes infinitely more difficult.