Intervention to Promote Responsible Conduct of Research Mentoring

Science and Engineering Ethics 24 (2):699-725 (2018)
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Abstract

Although much of the focus on responsible conduct in research has been defined by courses or online training, it is generally understood that this is less important than what happens in the research environment. On the assumption that providing faculty with tools and resources to address the ethical dimensions of the practice of research would be useful, a new workshop was convened ten times across seven academic institutions and at the annual meeting of a professional society. Workshops were attended by 91 faculty, 71 of whom completed evaluations strongly supportive of the value of the workshop. Surveys of trainees identified by the faculty allowed for invitations to complete an online survey before and 6 months after the workshops, respectively resulting in response rates of 43 and 51%. Faculty and trainees were highly supportive of the feasibility, relevance, and effectiveness of the implementation by the faculty of one or more of the five strategies featured in the workshop. However, surprisingly over 70% of the trainees reported use of one or more of those strategies prior to faculty participation in the workshops. In sum, the workshops for faculty were successful, and the proposed strategies were deemed of value, but it is likely that the faculty voluntarily choosing to participate in these workshops were perhaps not surprisingly faculty who are already engaging in some of these strategies. This model is likely a useful adjunct to encouraging a culture of ethics, but it is not by itself sufficient to do so.

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