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Participants in a treatment study are usually patients. However, participants in studies assessing ways of preventing health conditions (e.g. to assess the effects of insecticide-treated mosquito nets to prevent malaria) are often well people; and participants in studies aiming to modify practice (e.g. to assess a strategy for implementing a guideline) may be health care providers.
The term ‘participants’ sometimes refers only to the people who are allocated to receive one of the treatments being compared, and sometimes both to the people who receive, and the people who deliver the allocated treatments.
Participants in a study are sometimes referred to as ‘subjects’. We recommend against using this term, because it is demeaning.
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