SUGing, or Selling Under the Guise of research (also known as “sugging”), is the act of telemarketing or pre-qualifying customers while pretending to conduct a legitimate survey. Because it is, by definition, a practice that seeks to deceive the respondent, it is an unethical business and research practice. In addition, there is essentially no interest in the “data” being gathered other than to help make the sales pitch more effective.

It also has the side effect of increasing the victim's suspicion of subsequent legitimate survey contacts, thereby reducing the population of individuals readily willing to answer survey questions. In short, SUGing not only represents illegitimate and thus unethical research in itself, but it also has a long-term negative impact on legitimate research projects. SUGing is proscribed ...

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