While exploring your area of interest may require misleading or not completely informing your subjects about the true nature of your research, as a general rule, serious deception should be avoided whenever possible, since it jeopardizes the integrity of informed consent. Federal regulations prohibit the use of deceptive techniques that place subjects at greater than minimal risk. The Institutional Review Board will review any protocol that uses deception very closely.
Research employing deception may not be reviewed as “Exempt”.
Deceptive research that involves mild deception [as determined by the IRB] or omission (e.g., participants not informed of the true purpose of the research) where the topic is not sensitive and the subjects are not vulnerable can be reviewed as “Expedited”.
All other deceptive research will be reviewed as “Non-exempt with Full Committee Review”.
The IRB may suggest that the investigator add a sentence to the consent form such as “Research designs often require that the full intent of the study not be explained prior to participation. Although we have described the general nature of the tasks that you will be asked to perform, the full intent of the study will not be explained to you until after the completion of the study.”
Investigators may be asked to include an option for participants to withdraw their data from the study after they learn the true nature of the research, if it is of a sensitive nature.