According to Webster's Dictionary, deception is the act of making a person believe what is not true; that is, misleading someone. The use of deception in survey research varies in degree. Typically, its use by researchers is mild and is thought to cause no harm to survey respondents and other research subjects. At times, however, the use of deception has been extremely harmful to research subjects. Thus the nature of deception involved in research must be carefully considered. Currently, contemporary researchers in the academic and government sectors submit research proposals to their institutional review board (IRB) primarily to ensure that research participants are protected from harm. In the commercial sector in the United States, this process may not be followed as closely.

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