Public Views on Uses of Placebos in Medicine

Beliefs about Placebos Questionnaire
Felicity Bishop       Ethics number:  4587

I am Felicity Bishop, a lecturer in Health Psychology at the University of Southampton. I am inviting you to take part in a survey about the use of placebo effect in health care. Please read this information carefully before deciding to take part in this research. You must be aged over 16 to participate. By ticking the box at the bottom of this page and clicking 'Continue', you are consenting to participate in this survey.

What is the research about?
This study aims to develop a new questionnaire to be used to investigate the common perceptions regarding the use and understanding of the placebo effect in health care. In an American survey published in the BMJ, approximately half of doctors reported occasionally giving placebos to their patients. We want to find out what people think about this and related topics.

Do I have to take part?
No. It is completely up to you to decide whether to take part.

What will happen to me if I take part?
You will be asked a series of questions to find out what you think about placebos. Your answers will help us to find out what people think about placebos and to test our new questionnaire. The whole process will take about 15 minutes.

Are there any benefits or disadvantages in my taking part?
By taking part in this study you are helping to contribute to scientific research, which some people enjoy. Taking part will take some time to fill in the questionnaires.

Will my participation be confidential?
Yes. We do not ask personal details in the questionnaire.

What happens if i change my mind?
You are free to withdraw from the study at any time by closing your internt browser. You do not need to give a reason.

What if there is a problem?
If you have a concern about any aspects of this study, you should speak to the researchers who will do their best to answer any questions. If you remain unhappy and wish to formally complain you may contact the Chair of Ethics Committee, Academic Unit of Psychology, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ. Phone 023 80 598101, email

We have tried to ensure that the questions in this study do not cause distress. However, support is avaliable if needed. If you find the questions about doctors using placebos upsetting, you might like to contact the Patient's Association (, which is a national organisation for patients in the UK.

Where can I get more information?
Please contact the researcher, Felicity Bishop, on 02380 599020 or

Statement of Consent
I have read and understood the information about this study. In consenting, I understand that my legal rights are not affected. I understand that data collected as part of this research will be kept confidential and that published results will maintain that confidentiality. I understand that if I have any questions about my rights as a participant in this research, or if I feel that I have been placed at risk, I may contact the Chair of Ethics Committee (details above).