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ScholarOne - Deception through partial disclosure in research: exploring the ethics committee dilemma
  • Ifeanyichukwu Akuma,
  • Vina Vaswani
Ifeanyichukwu Akuma
Yenepoya (Deemed to be University)

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Vina Vaswani
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Deception in research is contentious, as ethical codes stress informed consent, yet complete disclosure may jeopardise the validity of certain studies. Hence, this study explores the ethical justification for incomplete deception (partial disclosure) as categorised by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines, permissible instances, and the dilemma faced by ethics committees in balancing scientific rigour and participant protection. Qualitative, descriptive cross-sectional research using in-depth interviews was adopted, and themes were identified through thematic analysis. Findings reveal challenges for ethics committees as incomplete information hampers understanding, among others. Alternatively, partial disclosure could be justified by the 3Vs—value, validity, and veracity—to preserve research integrity. The paper proposes an ethics committee framework, urging researchers to minimise or avoid partial deception and recommending institutional awareness campaigns and Standard Operating Procedures for minimal-harm studies using partial disclosure.
30 Jan 2024Submitted to Advance
09 Apr 2024Published in Advance