The features and qualities of online training modules in research ethics: a case study evaluating their institutional application for the University of Botswana

Global Bioethics 31 (1):133-154 (2020)
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Abstract

ABSTRACT Research ethics remains a cornerstone of the scientific enterprise as it defines the boundaries of responsible conduct of research. Our aim was to systematically identify, review and test online training courses in research ethics which could be considered most appropriate for future training at the University of Botswana (UB). We used an evaluative tool that included both descriptive and evaluative criteria for assessing the strengths, weaknesses and appropriateness of 10 online research ethics courses which are publicly accessible. We then assembled Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) to engage the UB community to select the best 2–3 online courses that are considered most suited for use in future training of research ethics at UB. Twenty respondents participated in three FGDs. Our findings show that there is limited research ethics training capacity in low resourced academic institutions like UB. Online training opportunities could be used to address this challenge. Our analysis reveal that out of the 10 online courses reviewed, CITI program, Family Health International, and Training and Resource in Research Ethics Evaluation have characteristics that would make them suitable for utilization in Botswana. We believe the findings from this case study will be of value to other similarly situated research institutions.

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