The Ubiquity of Deception and the Ethics of Deceptive Research
Bioethics 2008 March; 22(3): 147-156
Does the fact that deception is widely practised - even though there is a general prohibition against deception - provide insight into the ethics of deceptive methods in research, especially for social-behavioral research? I answer in the affirmative. The ubiquity of deception argument, as I will call it, points to the need for a concrete and nuanced understanding of the variety of deceptive practices, and thus promises an alternative route of analysis for why some deception may be permissible in social-behavioral research. As an alternative argument it also promises to break the stalemate that emerges in debates on the ethics of deceptive methods in social-behavioral research. In the current paper I (1) motivate and articulate the ubiquity argument in order to clarify the significance of ubiquity and discharge some initial objections. Then, on the recommendations of the ubiquity argument, I (2) highlight the importance of interpersonal relationships for understanding the ethics of deception. Following this insight I (3) provide an analysis of several features of the researcher-participant relationship relevant to the understanding of the ethics of deception in research. I then (4) conclude the argument with some recommendations for the ethical use of deceptive methods in social-behavioral research.
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Benham, Bryan (2008-09)What is the ethical significance of debriefing in deceptive research? The standard view of debriefing is that it serves to disclose the deception to the participant and is a means of evaluating and mitigating potential ...