Texas Tech University


Researchers may choose to debrief participants about their research after their participation has ended or the research is complete. The debriefing process is a requirement for studies that employ deception, sexual misconduct, self-harm, and substance abuse. However, it can also be used as an educational tool and to provide counseling resources.

The process to debrief participants must be explained in your IRB submission. Researchers are strongly encouraged to debrief participants as soon as possible after the research. Your submission must indicate who will debrief participants and the debriefing document.

General Debriefing

  • Label the form as "Debriefing Statement"
  • Study title
  • Thank participants for taking the time to participate in the study
  • A full explanation of the hypothesis being tested
  • Relevant background information pertaining to the research
  • PI name and contact information for follow-up questions
  • If the study involves sensitive topics, it may be appropriate to give participants an opportunity to withdraw their consent to participate.
  • If the Research Topic is Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination, Harassment or Violence include the following additional language:
    • If you want to report sexual misconduct at Texas Tech University, you can contact the Office for Student Civil Rights & Sexual Misconduct. You can then meet with the office staff and they will open an investigation into this matter. If you would like me to file a report with the Office for Student Civil Rights & Sexual Misconduct on your behalf and help you get into contact with these resources, please let me know. (This language is not required for exempt research.)
  • Resources available to the participants – The resource document provided can be adapted to fit the needs of the research participants and topics.

Deception Debriefing

  • Procedures used to deceive participants
  • Why it was necessary to deceive participants
  • Participants should also be given the opportunity to withdraw completely any and all material collected.
  • If the research study involved the use of audio or video recording a participant, the researcher must provide them an opportunity to withdraw their consent for the use of such recordings.

 View resources.