Debriefing

Debriefing is a process for telling participants all the information related to the study that was initially withheld. Debriefing may be done in-person, but is more often a document provided to subjects at the completion of the study activities.

There are two conditions that require debriefing

  1. A study involves deception

Debriefing is a process for telling participants all the information related to the study that was initially withheld. Debriefing for participants who were deceived includes a description of the deception and an explanation about why it was necessary. The discussion should presented in lay language and should be sufficiently detailed that participants will understand how and why they were deceived.  If the study included multiple deceptions, each should be addressed.

Debriefing may be done in-person, but is more often a document provided to subjects at the completion of the study activities.

If participants were filmed without their knowledge, they must be given the option to ask that the researchers do not use the film.  Participants may want to see the video in order to decide if it may be used for research purposes.

Delayed debriefing is an option if participants are part of a group that may share information about their experience in the research.

If researchers will use a delayed debriefing, the consent form must state additional information will be available at the study and participants’ contact information should be collected. The contact information should not be linked to the study data.

Sample Debriefing for Deception

  1. The study uses the Psychology and Neuroscience Subject Pool

Participation as research subjects is intended to function as a teaching tool. Therefore, debriefing must be provided that explains the purpose of the research and how research methods and instruments were designed to answer the research question.

Sample Debriefing for Subject Pool Study