Use of deception or incomplete disclosure as techniques in research requires detailed IRB review as the requirement for informed consent is not met. Deception occurs when participants are deliberately given false information about some aspect of the research. Incomplete disclosure occurs when participants are not given information about the real purpose or the nature of the research.
PIs are to include all of the following in your IRB application:
- Justify the use of these techniques, and explain why it is necessary. Explain why alternative methods are not being used.
- Elaborate on the debrief process (e.g. when will it occur, by whom, etc), and provide a debrief transcript/ statement. This should contain an explanation of the hypothesis, the deception procedure, and the reasons why it was necessary to deceive them.
- Would the use of these techniques put participants at greater than minimal risk? Elaborate on potential psychological discomforts (e.g. stress, loss of self-esteem, embarrassment, etc), and how these will be minimised during the debrief.
- In the consent forms, participants should be advised that the information they are given is not complete, and that they will be debriefed after the research procedures are completed. PIs are to provide a truthful and accurate explanation of the purpose of the study (to the fullest extent possible without giving too much away).
- To include the following statement: "Some research requires that the full purpose of the study not be explained before you participate. We will give you a full explanation at the end of the study."