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IRB Guidelines for Using Deception in Research

In studies involving deception, the reasons for the deception must be fully justified to the IRB and the subject must be given a complete explanation of the study upon completing her/his participation.

The use of deception by an investigator for the purpose of securing subject participation and/or to prevent potentially biased reporting of data/information by the subject is permissible provided all of the following conditions exist:

  1. Deception is necessary due to the lack of alternative procedures for data collection not involving deception.
  2. The deceptive procedures will not place subjects at significant financial, physical, psychological, or social risk.
  3. The data collection/experiment will be followed by careful debriefing sessions whereby the subjects are fully informed of the nature and purpose of the deception.
  4. The procedures for deception should meet any available professional code of ethics or guidelines established by the discipline of the investigator.

Note: Research that uses intentional deception is typically not eligible for an exempt or expedited review.

Next: IRB Composition