Center for Bioethics

Limited English Proficiency and Research Participation

Important ethical and regulatory issues arise when enrolling people with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) in research projects. Procedures must be put into place to make sure that people with LEP understand the procedures and risks and benefits of participation. There is an ethical imperative to include people with LEP in research when participation carries important benefits, though the ethical imperative is less clear in situations when the research carries more significant risks and fewer anticipated benefits.

Related Resources

Jones, C. W., & Resnik, D. B. (2006) Research subjects with limited English proficiency. Ethical and legal issues. Accountability in research, 13(2), 157-177.

Harriette, G. C., Toren, A., Kiss, A., & Fowler, R. A. (2007) Eligibility criteria of randomized controlled trials. Published in high-impact general medical journals. JAMA, 297(11), 1233-1240.

Sha, M., McAvinchey, G., Quiroz, R., & Moncada, J. (2017) Successful Techniques to Recruit Hispanic and Latino Research Participants Survey Practice, 10(3).

NIH Revitalization Act of 1993