Week 9: Discussion on Ethical Issues

Hi Everyone,

Although it is reasonable to assume that research subjects will not behave or react naturally if they know the purpose of certain researches, is it acceptable for the researchers to engage in various types of deception? For example, install hidden cameras to observe the research subjects without advance notice, word the instructions in such a way that hides the research goals, or avoid identifying themselves to the research subjects that they are researchers. Is there any ethical concern?

Thank you.








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2 responses to “Week 9: Discussion on Ethical Issues

  1. Hi Liz,
    I think it depends on whether the deception would harm the subject. Using your example – wording the instructions with the intention to hide the research goals – would not, in my opinion, harm the person. Additionally, it is reasonable to do so to keep the subject from having any bias. After all, if the instructions were leading, the results of the study would be meaningless. However, if the deception was to hide from the person that he/she is, in fact, participating in a research study, this seems to be unethical since there would not be consent.

    Camille Johnson

  2. Hey Liz,

    Yes, I think Liz is correct. As long as the deception does cause physical, psychological or emotional harm to the subjects I think deception is allowed. Keep in mind that these individuals gave consent to be part of a research study. So I don’t see filming them without their knowledge is problematic, as they know they’re part of a study, and have consented to be a part of this study. At the end of the study I believe you also need to enclose everything, so that they are aware of what happened, and why it happened (for research purposes).

    Victoria Grant

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