Integrity in Postgraduate Research: The Student Voice

Science and Engineering Ethics 21 (6):1657-1672 (2015)

Abstract

There is a limited understanding of the student perspective of integrity in postgraduate research. This is of concern given that ‘research trainees’ may have a vulnerable position in formal investigations of research misconduct. This paper analyses qualitative data drawn from an Australian online academic integrity survey in a mixed methods research study. This analysis complements the quantitative survey data analysed earlier and sought to explore factors contributing to postgraduate research students’ satisfaction with policy and process, the ways institutions can support students’ understandings and practice, suggestions for improving breach processes, and students’ concerns. We found that integrity training and modelling of ethical behaviour by staff were key factors contributing to students’ satisfaction. Students would have liked more ‘hands-on’ integrity training, accompanied by consistent and transparent enforcement of policy. Respondents expressed concern about the credibility of research output and educational standards. We call for recommendations from the extensive literature on academic integrity policy and practice to be extended to the postgraduate research sphere

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