The Journal of Philosophy, Science & Law


The Journal of Philosophy, Science & Law: RCR Special Issue
Volume 14, January 30, 2014, pages 32-46
full text version

A Proposal for Thinking Strategically About Ethics Education: Applying
the Principles of Andragogy to Enhance Teaching and Learning About
Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

Camille Nebeker*

* Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California San Diego,


Training in the responsible conduct of research (RCR) is mandated for select trainees supported by federal funds.  RCR Instructors typically address standards and accepted practices for the planning, conduct and reporting of academic research. While this focus may be relevant to future academic scientists, the majority of science graduate students pursue careers in non-academic employment sectors (e.g., government, non-profit, industry).  The ethical and regulatory conventions, norms and expectations of the academic setting may not always transfer to other work environments.  As such, educators should focus less on answering specific questions about standards and practices in academia, and instead design ethics education to actively engage students in a learning process that prepares them with the skills to identify and navigate ethical dimensions in a wide range of possible science professions. This paper introduces the principles of andragogy and provides recommendations for educators to consider when designing research ethics education for graduate students seeking cross-sector science careers. By applying principles that resonate with adult learning and integrating strategies that promote self-directed and life-long learning (e.g., reflective practice and collaborative projects), professional and research ethics instructional effectiveness may be enhanced.

(to view the full text version, click here)


Return to Home Page