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The aim of this article is to examine whether informational manipulation, used intentionally by the researcher to increase recruitment in the research study, can be morally acceptable. We argue that this question is better answered by following a non-normative account, according to which the ethical justifiability of informational manipulation should not be relevant to its definition. The most appropriate criterion by which informational manipulation should be considered as morally acceptable or not is the researcher’s special moral duties towards their subjects. We also propose that a broader definition of manipulation of information should be adopted (than that already existing in the literature) since informational manipulation can affect not only a person’s beliefs but also their desires in decision-making. We conclude that manipulation of information can either be used to protect the potential subject and facilitate the informed consent process or be used to exploit and merely use a person for scientific goals.

Original publication




Journal article


Research Ethics


SAGE Publications

Publication Date





9 - 23