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Information to Support Participants Who Stop Taking Part: Guidance for Researchers

The guidance on these pages is for researchers considering how to provide information to research participants who stop participating early, including those who ‘withdraw’ from a study and those who stop for other reasons. It has been put together through a collaboration between patients and CTRU researchers.
Good quality information for participants who stop taking part early helps them with questions they may have, such as:

  • “What does stopping my involvement early mean for me?”
  • “Have I still made a useful contribution to the study?”
  • “What happens next, and what are my choices?”

This guidance aims to help researchers provide good quality information to participants to help answer these and other questions, and do so in an appropriately sensitive way.

Use the navigation on the left to find:

  • More background to the project and its aims
  • A suggested process to go through to develop study-specific communication materials
  • Specific guidance on the sorts of information participants need and how to communicate it to them clearly and sensitively
  • Downloadable resources, including a document (in standard and large text formats) containing all the information on these webpages

If you might like any of this content in a different format, or you have any feedback on this guidance, please get in touch with the project lead Will Cragg at

We very much welcome others using these resources in their own research studies, as long as the due credit is given to the Clinical Trials Research Unit, University of Leeds.
This project was funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) CTU Support Funding scheme. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

This is version 2.0 of the guidance, last updated 17 April 2024.

Funded by the National Institute for Health Research