Physical – physical harm as a result of the study
Social – Sensitive information about the participant could be revealed
In some situations researchers are not required to obtain informed consent. The clearest example is when researchers are observing individuals’ behavior in public places without any intervention. For instance, an investigator might want to gather evidence about race relations on a college campus by observing the frequency of mixed-race versus non-mixed-race groups walking across campus. The investigator would not need to obtain students’ permission before making the observations. Informed consent would be required, however, if the identity of specific individuals was going to be recorded.
2. The setting
3. The method of dissemination of the information
“Psychologists do not deceive prospective participants about research that is reasonably expected to cause physical pain or severe emotional distress” (Standard 8.07b)
Before using deception, a researcher must give very serious consideration to (1) the importance of the study to our scientific knowledge, (2) the availability of alternative, deception-free methods, and (3) the “noxiousness” of the deception.
Debriefing allows researchers to learn how participants viewed the procedures, allows potential insights into the nature of the research findings, and provides ideas for future research.