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When is deception in research ethical?

Athanassoulis, N; Wilson, J; (2009) When is deception in research ethical? Clinical Ethics , 4 (1) 44 - 49. 10.1258/ce.2008.008047. Green open access

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This article examines when deceptive withholding of information is ethically acceptable in research. The first half analyses the concept of deception. We argue that there are two types of accounts of deception: normative and non-normative, and argue that non-normative accounts are preferable. The second half of the article argues that the relevant ethical question which ethics committees should focus on is not whether the person from whom the information is withheld will be deceived, but rather on the reasonableness of withholding the information from the person who is deceived. We further argue that the reasonableness of withholding information is dependent on the context. The last section examines how the context of research should shape our judgements about the circumstances in which withholding information from research participants is ethically acceptable. We argue that some important features of research make it more difficult to justify withholding information in the context of research than elsewhere.

Type: Article
Title: When is deception in research ethical?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1258/ce.2008.008047
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1258/ce.2008.008047
Language: English
Additional information: Athanassoulis, N and Wilson, J (2009) When is deception in research ethical? Clinical Ethics 4 (1) 44 - 49. 10.1258/ce.2008.008047 This is the final draft, after peer-review, of a manuscript published in RSM journals: www.rsmpress.com
Keywords: Deception, Research ethics, Lying
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1325671
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