Publication Date



We propose to develop and assess role-play scenarios to teach central topics in the responsible conduct of research (RCR) to graduate students in science and engineering. Together the scenarios will cover plagiarism, authorship, conflict of interest, interpersonal conflicts in mentoring, and concerns about compliance with research regulations on human participants in research, animal subjects, or hazardous substances. Two scenarios will present potential whistleblowing situations.

Intellectual merit: Few previous studies have carefully assessed the effectiveness of role-play in teaching ethics. We will conduct a rigorous, systematic assessment of role-play, using multiple methods, with a diverse group of graduate students. We will examine whether role-play helps students identify moral issues in research, understand multiple perspectives in ethical disputes, and negotiate practical solutions to moral problems. We will document how students’ conceptions of RCR change. We will determine whether students retain their new knowledge and skills. For this project, we will draw on our previous experience in the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Broader impacts: Collaborating with both graduate and undergraduate students, we will develop educational materials that can be adopted by graduate programs in all science and engineering departments. These materials will be disseminated through professional meetings and archived online.

We believe that by engaging students through the role-play scenarios, we would teach graduate students to handle ethical problems in RCR effectively. As an outcome of this project, we expect to find that long after students have participated in role-play sessions, they will recall the lessons of those sessions, and they will be able to apply those lessons to a wide range of ethical problems that they may encounter in their professional careers.


Authorship and Publication, Conflict of Interest, Data Management, Human Subjects, Mentoring, Peer Review, Social Dimensions of Ethical Behavior, Whistle Blowing

Material Type


Research Area

Engineering | Life Sciences | Physical Sciences and Mathematics | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Acknowledgement and Disclaimer

Supported by the National Science Foundation under grant EEC-0628814. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Illinois or the National Science Foundation.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Usage Statement

Authors who create derivative works should send the authors a courtesy copy of the derivative work. The derivative work should NOT imply that we agree with the authors' views.

Article Location