Recruitment into clinical research studies is a major challenge. This study was carried out to explore the perceptions and attitudes towards clinical research participation among the general public in Qatar. A population based questionnaire study was carried out at public events held in Qatar. Residents of Qatar, 18 years or above in age were surveyed, anonymously, following verbal consent. Descriptive and multivariate analyses were conducted. We administered 2517 questionnaires to examine clinical research participation, of which 2379 complete forms were analyzed. Those who had previously been approached to participate in research completed a more detailed assessment. Data showed that only 5.7% participants (n = 134) had previously been approached to participate in a clinical research study. Of these 63.4% (n = 85) had agreed to participate while 36.6% (n = 49) had declined. The main reasons for declining participation included: time constraint (47.8%, n = 11), ‘fear’ (13.0%, n = 3), lack of awareness about clinical research (8.7%, n = 2) and lack of interest (8.7%, n = 2). ‘To help others’ (31.8%, n = 27) and ‘thought it might improve my access to health care’ (24.7%, n = 21) were the prime motivators for participation. There was a general agreement among participants that their previous research experience was associated with positive outcomes for self and others, that the research conduct was ethical, and that opportunities for participation will be welcomed in future. More than ten years of stay within Qatar was a statistically significant determinant of willingness to participate, adjusted odds ratio 5.82 (95% CI 1.93–17.55), p = 0.002. Clinical research participation in Qatar needs improvement. Time constraints, lack of trust in and poor awareness about clinical research are main barriers to participation. Altruism, and improved health access are reported as prime motivators. Deeper insight in to the factors affecting clinical research participation is needed to devise evidence based policies for improvement in recruitment strategies.
- Clinical research
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