UW Directories | Calendar | Map | MyUW
UW logo
Skip to Main
Human Subjects Division (HSD)


Approaching and Recruiting Prospective Subjects - Advertisements

Advertisements used to recruit subjects for research

Advertisements include posted or distributed flyers, newspaper or magazine ads, announcements placed on the Web or sent by e-mail, and information sheets sent to providers or targeted groups of prospective subjects.

The IRB will review the advertisement and how it will be used, to determine that it is not coercive and does not promise unreasonable benefits. The IRB will review the final copy of advertisements for readability and visual impact.

Advertisements should provide the information that prospective subjects need to determine their eligibility and interest. Include the following information, worded appropriately, in advertisements:

  • "University of Washington" and the department/division name of the investigator and/or research facility;
  • the purpose of the research and/or the condition under study;
  • in summary form, the key inclusion/exclusion criteria that will be used to determine eligibility for the study;
  • a brief list of key participation benefits, if any (e.g., a no-cost health examination, free parking);
  • the time or other commitment required of the subjects; and
  • the person or office to contact for further information. When a telephone number is given, if it is not dedicated exclusively to the use of the advertised study, a contact name should also be given.

Advertisements should not promise "free treatment," when the intent is only to say subjects will not be charged for taking part. Advertisements may state that subjects will be paid, but should not emphasize the payment or the amount to be paid. If payments will vary (and not be the same sum to each subject), the statement about payment should be of the form, "Subjects may earn up to $___". Payment is not considered a benefit.

For biomedical studies:

Do not include claims that the drug, biologic or device is safe or effective for the purposes under investigation, or that the test article is known to be equivalent or superior to any other drug, biologic or device. Such representation would not only be misleading to subjects but would also be a violation of the FDA's regulations concerning the promotion of investigational drugs [21 CFR 312.7(a)] and of investigational devices [21 CFR 812.7(d)].

Advertising for recruitment into investigational drug, biologic or device studies should not use terms such as "new treatment," "new medication" or "new drug" without explaining that the test article is investigational.

Investigators are welcome to address queries about specific proposed advertisements to the appropriate administrator. Queries related to existing studies should be addressed to the administrator of the IRB that reviewed the study.

Change Notes

  • Noted 12/20/2010 @ 11:27am
    Keyword newly added.
    - sherrye