Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is this database and why is it important?

While Penn State is a world leader in research, our rural location makes it difficult to find families to become involved in research. This database was developed to assist researchers find participants by providing a central list of local families with children in the appropriate age bracket. This will save time and money and help make research easier on both the researcher and families. 

Who has access to my information?

All the information in the FIRSt database is confidential. Only researchers who have received approval from the Office of Regulatory Compliance will be provided with information from the database. Your information will not be sold or given to any other organization.

How long will my name be in the database?

Unless you ask to be removed you will be listed in the database as long as you have a child under the age of 18.

How do I update my information?

To change information in the database, or to be removed, click the "Contact Us" link on this website or email: . Alternatively, you can call The Child Study Center at (814) 863-5656. Please provide your name, address and phone number plus the names of any children you believe may be associated with your name. All requests to be removed from the database will be honored.

Where did you get my name?

Several methods are used to collect names for the FIRSt database; voluntary registration via this website, by phone or mail; merging of small, pre-existing databases developed by participating researchers; and through collection of public information such as birth announcements published in local newspapers.

Will I get paid to participate in research?

Some research programs offer money to participants, but many do not. Other forms of compensation may include physical and developmental evaluation of your child or free or reduced cost therapy. Additionally, many families find that participating in research is interesting as it gives insight into their children's development, and provides a sense of satisfaction for having contributed to important advances in knowledge.

How much time is involved in participating in research?

The time involved varies greatly depending on the individual research project. It varies from a single meeting lasting less than one hour to several meetings over several years. The time commitment is always clearly outlined before you agree to participate and your participation is always voluntary. You may stop at any time.

When will I be called and how often?

When you will be contacted depends on which research projects are currently recruiting subjects. Depending on the ages of children being recruited, it could be a week after you sign up to several months (or possibly never). We try very hard not to overburden parents by calling too often. When you are contacted, you will be given the option to not be called for a period of time of your choosing.

Am I committed to participating in research? Can I pick which research projects to participate in?

No, you are not committed to participate in any research and may say no to any particular research request. Your willingness to be in the database means that you are available to be asked. Which research projects, and how many, you agree to participate in are entirely up to you.

Will my child be in any danger from participating in research?

No! All research projects are reviewed by the University Institutional Review Board to make certain that they meet legal and ethical guidelines, which include the safety and well-being of research subjects.

My neighbor has a child who would be perfect for research. Can I sign them up?

We hope that you talk to your neighbors about the FIRSt project and encourage them to sign up. However, only those legally responsible for the child can sign them up.

Many families find that participating in research is interesting; gives insight into their children's development; and provides a sense of having contributed to important advances in knowledge. Some research projects also provide financial compensation to participants.

If you are the legal parent or guardian of a child between newborn and 18 years of age, or are expecting a child soon, and are interested in registering your family for the FIRSt database. You will be contacted when a researcher is interested in adding you to a project.


Questions about the FIRSt database and this webpage should be directed to

General questions about research at Penn State should be directed to The Vice President for Research.