The University of Oklahoma Graduate College and the Center for Applied Social Research have received one of five awards nationwide from the Council of Graduate Schools to integrate research ethics education into international collaborations in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields. The awards are designed to prepare future scientists and engineers for the ethical challenges that often arise in global research. The OU research project will focus on international students entering a U.S. university.
"Graduate students need to develop an awareness of cultural expectations about research practice and to understand different research policies and norms," said OU Graduate College Dean T.H. Lee Williams. "Training can help students recognize and manage potential conflicts of interest, adhere to standards for responsible authorship, and share resources and materials responsibly."
Michael D. Mumford, OU George Lynn Cross Distinguished Research Professor and Director of the Center for Applied Social Research, will lead the project, "Effects of viable ethics instruction on international students." The prevalence of international collaborations in the science, engineering and social sciences is a concern when preparing students for ethical conduct in a cross-cultural context. International students receiving stipends at OU will complete a two-day ethics education program.
The students will complete a set of pre- and post-ethical decision-making measures, evaluate each element of instruction and complete a post instruction survey. International students will be compared to North American doctoral students to identify whether differential effects on ethical decision-making are observed, whether international students employ different strategies in ethical decision-making, and whether international students benefit from particular types of instructional exercises.
Mumford's research group was previously funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health to develop a theoretical model for ethical decision making and a two-day practical workshop to train graduate students on how to use the model in their professional lives. The workshop helps students to recognize the different internal and external factors that influence any professional decision, and how to work with and balance these factors in their decision making.