Volunteering as a research subject may seem like a crazy and slightly desperate thing to do. However, for data-hungry honours/grad/post doc students who are in desperate need of people just like yourselves for their experiments, being a lab rat may be a fun and lucrative hobby. The third head and new-found ability to telepathically communicate with pasta is also a bonus.
Most studies require an hour or two of ‘work’, but pay (on average) $10 – $15 an hour. It’s a quick way to make some extra cash and potentially participate in some pretty cool research!
Someone who hasn’t volunteered as a research subject may have some misgivings. Let me quell your fears – in scientific studies, the researcher will usually fully brief you on the tasks that you will be performing unless the way the experiment is designed requires otherwise. Privacy is a big deal and is handled very seriously by the researchers – they will not refer to you by name in their reports or release any identifiable information about you to the public. Prior to the study, you will sign a contract stating that you are able to stop the experiment at any point if you feel uncomfortable.
I will not participate in experiments which require me to consume an experimental drug or other unidentifiable items, or to receive substances intravenously (and these usually pay a lot more than $10/hr, more in the $xxxx.xx range!) since I’m a wimp. However I’ve participated in non-invasive experiments which hooked me up to an EEG Machine, required me to use a computer, or sit in a dark room for an hour listening to tones and looking for lights. Part of the fun is seeking out weird projects! With scientific research, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get something completely different each time.
‘But wait Spiffy Owl,’ I can hear you tweet, ‘how do I find these lucrative opportunities to donate my body to science?‘. Hearken my dear lost owlet, one needs only to wander through the halls of your local Psychology Department to be bombarded with the flyers of many a desperate researcher. January and February are particularly fruitful months, as crunch-time is upon these poor students to complete their thesis. You may also want to see if your local University has an online board for this kind of stuff – simply add your email to the list to be notified of future studies. Hospitals may also be good hunting grounds. Generally once you’ve applied for one study, they’ll put you on a list (with your permission) as a potential candidate for others.
I’ve got a couple of studies that I will be participating in lined up for the coming months They will be recorded here for your amusement. In the meantime, Spiffy out.