Research Context


Author: Michael Kalichman, 2009-2010

Ongoing education in the context of the research environment is likely to be the most appropriate and effective means to promote research ethics.

One of the most important mechanisms by which knowledge is passed from one generation to the next is mentoring. In the sense that a mentor is an individual who has succeeded by overcoming the hurdles to success, he or she is in the best position to help a trainee face those same hurdles. Mentoring might include many topics, one of which is the responsible conduct of research or research ethics. Unfortunately, such mentoring is infrequent or even non-existent (Swazey and Anderson, 1996; Brown and Kalichman, 1998).

Although one-on-one mentoring is an important part of graduate student training, much of training in practice occurs in the context of research groups. Very little has been written about teaching research ethics in this setting, but it is clear that much can and should be learned about the roles, responsibilities, and joys of science through the process of conducting research.

Opportunities, in context, for teaching about and discussing research ethics include, for example:


Workshop Curriculum

With support from the National Science Foundation (2011-2015), Drs. Plemmons and Kalichman developed a workshop curriculum to empower faculty to better introduce research ethics conversations into the context of the research environment.

These materials are designed to provide motivation and content sufficient for an instructor to lead a workshop titled: “Mentoring for Responsible Research.” The long-term goal is to foster an environment in which research faculty are better empowered to initiate conversations within their research groups about the responsible conduct of research. Workshop participants are introduced to rationales, content, approaches, and resources so that they will have the means to develop and implement concrete, discipline-specific strategies for research ethics mentoring. Materials include a detailed instructor’s guide and templates for workshop syllabi that can be customized as needed. The following resources are freely available for non-commercial use, as long as credit to the original source is provided*:

*Creative Commons License
Research Ethics Workshop: Mentoring for Responsible Research by Michael Kalichman and Dena Plemmons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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