Research assistants' perspective of clinical trials: Results of a focus group

Jerrilyn A. Cambron, Roni Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: To better understand the experiences and problems encountered by research assistants (RAs) involved in clinical trials to improve the process of RA training for future studies. Design: A 1-time focus group of research assistants was conducted. Setting: A chiropractic college in the United States during a national chiropractic research agenda conference. Subjects: Eight research assistants from 2 teaching institutions, who are directly involved in clinical trials and have patient-centered responsibilities, such as recruiting patients, interviewing patients, and collecting data. Main Outcome Measures: Responses to predetermined questions were qualitatively compiled. Question topics included research assistants' experiences while administering phone screens, questionnaires, and informed consents. Results: Research assistants involved in this focus group expressed they were adequately trained in telephone screening and administering informed consent but felt they required more training in administering self-report questionnaires to patients. The majority of problems they encountered were related to a lack of information. To improve training of future RAs, more detailed study information is necessary, such as how to describe study treatments and how to give questionnaire instructions. Conclusions: The comparability of responses by the members of this focus group was interesting. Members had similar experiences within clinical trials and found that the problems encountered were common across studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-292
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Research Departments of the National University of Health Sciences and Northwestern Health Sciences University and the Consortial Center for Chiropractic Research, a cooperative agreement supported by the NIH, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: u01 AT00170. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National University of Health Sciences, Northwestern Health Sciences University or the CCCR.


  • Chiropractic
  • Patient Selection
  • Randomized Controlled Trials


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