My youngest son plays baseball. The February of his freshman year in college, I traveled to watch a scrimmage game. As with most ballparks, music would play between innings, and I was immediately struck by the song selections - mostly songs about pick-up trucks, sweet tea, windows rolled down and fried chicken....I didn't recognize any of them. As I was wondering who in the world was making these musical selections, I glanced around at the other fans huddled in the stands and they ALL appeared to be singing along! Obviously, I was the one missing out.
Later that night, I asked my son how he was getting along, and he told me that he was fitting in just fine. Then I happened to remark about the music at the ball field and he told me that he too knew all the lyrics.
Learning the lyrics is about fitting in. How much more comfortable do we feel when the tune is familiar and we know what comes next? I've thought about that in a much broader sense than just music, and feel that it can be a metaphor for many life experiences.
In clinical research, each program is carefully designed and planned out to the smallest detail. Each visit and procedure, dose and measurement, is scheduled and calculated before the first person is ever enrolled into the study. Potential participants are a vital part of a process where questions are encouraged and the program is thoroughly explained all along the way. All of this leads to a familiarity which gives comfort and ease about what comes next. We don't promote surprises, we promote collaboration, and to that end we like to ensure that we're all singing along to the same song.