Survival skills and ethics training for graduate students: A graduate student perspective

Science and Engineering Ethics 2 (3):367-380 (1996)
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Graduate students in the sciences must develop practical skills geared toward scientific survival and success. This is particularly true now, given the paucity of research funds and jobs. Along with more elementary skills, research ethics should be an integral part of students’ scientific training. Survival skills include research skills, communication skills, general efficiency, and preparation for post-graduate work. Ethics training covers guidelines for use of animal and human subjects, data treatment, disclosure, credit issues, conflicts of interest, and response to misconduct. The objective of this paper is to describe, from a graduate student’s perspective, the need for survival and ethics training in graduate programs and to raise both faculty and student awareness of the possibilities for explicit instruction of these skills. Many survival skills and ethical practices will be learned without explicit direction and some are already part of standard training; but, this is not the case for all students or for all skills, so specific instruction is a necessity. Research faculty can use their own experience to help students to develop the proficiencies they will need to succeed.



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