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INT 601 - Overview

Responsible Conduct of Research

Professor Harlan J. Onsrud
Room 340 Boardman Hall
(207) 581-2175

Course Description
This course provides a concise overview of key subject areas in the responsible conduct of research. It is designed to make students aware of relevant guidelines, policies and codes relating to ethical research, as well as to provide, via a study of ethical theories, concepts, and case studies, the skills for identifying and resolving ethical conflicts that may arise in research. Cr.1.

Course Goals and Objectives
Basic premises for this course are that:

  • the educational objective of a research-based graduate program is to produce competent scholars capable of original and independent research and
  • doing good science requires responsible conduct and integrity.

Goals for this course include:

  • Enhance understanding of the range of accepted practices in research. Practices may vary according to the norms of disciplines.
  • Heighten sensitivity to and appreciation for ethical issues associated with doing research
  • Improve abilities for resolving ethical conflicts
  • Increase knowledge about the laws, regulations, and policies – government and institutional –and professional guidelines that govern the conduct of research. [1]

Expected Course Outcomes
Students exposed to the responsible conduct of research course material will have:

  • increased awareness of the ethical dimension in accomplishing research,
  • a greater sense of personal and social responsibility for resolving such values conflicts, and
  • improved skill in analyzing and resolving values conflicts.

Class Sessions
The course will meet twice per week for ten class sessions (approximately five weeks).

  • On-campus Students: Typically Tues and Thursday or Monday and Friday, 3:30 – 4:45 , Room 336 Boardman Hall (Summer: M-F, 10:00 am) If you have a soft voice, please sit near the microphone so that students at a distance can pick up your voice.
  • Live Broadcasts: Available at Online students must view and participate in the live sessions from 3:30 – 4:45. (Note: If you are in a different time zone, consult to determine the equivalent time in your location.) (Summer: M-F, 10:00 am)
  • Archived Broadcasts: Links to the class broadcasts are made available at the end of each day through the Lectures and Assignments web page.

Expectation of Students

  • Students are expected to attend all sessions. To receive credit for this course, no more than two sessions should be missed unless there are very extraordinary circumstances. Classes will be conducted seminar style. It is imperative that students complete the readings and are prepared with comments and questions. Module question responses are used as a starting point for class discussions. For the last session, summaries by module editors may be used to review the primary lessons of the course. Students will also prepare a 5 page annotated bibliography on responsible conduct of research related to their specific discipline or will respond to some readings and a video essay on the future of science or a similarly germane topic assigned by the instructor.

Course Materials

  • All readings are available online, in the Info folder within the INT 601 class folder on FirstClass, or are available through the electronic journal subscriptions of Fogler library.

Grading and Class Policies

  • Grades in this course will be based on the quality and completion of all requirements listed on the syllabus that may be reasonably altered at the discretion of the instructor as the course progresses. As a graduate level course, you are expected to exhibit high quality work that demonstrates sound understanding of the concepts and their complexity. Your written work should reflect professional quality in composition as well as in spelling and grammar. Earning an “A” represents oral and written work that is of exceptionally high quality and demonstrates superb understanding of the course material. A “B” grade represents oral and written work that is of good quality and demonstrates a sound understanding of course material. A “C” grade represents a minimally adequate completion of assignments and participation demonstrating a limited understanding of course material.
  • Although subject to change, grades are typically weighted as follows: 20% written responses to daily assignments, 20% performance as a moderator/editor, 20% class participation, 10% human subjects test completion, 10% conflict of financial interest test completion, 20% bibliography or reflection assignment


  • Assignments and Class Notices:
    You must have a FirstClass account for this course. If you do not yet have an account or need a tutorial on use of FirstClass, contact the IT Help Center at or see the tutorials at You will communicate with other classmates and the instructor through the INT 601  FirstClass folder and deliver all out-of-class assignments to the FirstClass assignment folder for the course.  I recommend that you download the FirstClass client software to your computer if you have not already done so. You should always be able to deliver your materials and access the materials of others by logging on to the FirstClass website or by using the client software.
  • Participating Live at a Distance:
    Simply go to the ConnectPro web site established for the course found at , enter as a guest, and use the audio facilities or the written chat to ask questions. Click the microphone on at the beginning of the ConnectPro session (top of screen – green when on)  but then immediately click it again to place it on mute unless you are talking. All students at a distance should wear “ear buds” or headphones when talking to prevent echoing effects heard by in-class students. You should be able to see the instructor and  the classroom. We highly prefer that we can see you so please turn your camera on if you have one. If you are sitting in an area with background noise (i.e. coffee shop), please purchase a headphone with a microphone attached so we can hear you without all of the background noise. Using the preferences for your computer, check your computer microphone volume to ensure that it is set high so that we can hear you. In addition, when within ConnectPro, click on the pull down menu next to the green microphone icon and set your volume near maximum.  The ConnectPro system works with greatest utility and flexibility if I allow all students to be “presenters.” Therefore do NOT switch the slides or move the window pods since these actions will also move items on the instructor’s screen.
  • Obtain a Skype Account:
    All distance students should also have a Skype account for this course (see as a backup. Please forward your Skype username to after enrolling in the course. If the ConnectPro technology fails for a class discussion session, the instructor may initiate a conference call on Skype. We might use it as other times as well. Note: Because video on Skype can cause band width problems on conference calls with large numbers of participants, please set your preferences as follows: Skype > Preferences > Calls > Uncheck the option of ”Start video automatically at the beginning of a call” and at Skype > Preferences > Privacy > Allow video & screen sharing from “Nobody.”
  • Important Notices
    Academic Honesty: Academic honesty is expected.  Plagiarism is unacceptable in this course and will result in a failing grade.  “Although a writer may use other persons’ words and thoughts, they must be acknowledged as such.” Joseph Gibaldi and Walter S. Achtert, MLA Handbook (Modern Language Association) 1977, p. 4.

  • Instructor Office Hours & Discussion Sessions
    For one-on-one discussions with the instructor, E-mail to is often the simplest way to get a message through and a response. You are also welcome to call my office at 207-581-2175 or try me at my Skype username of harlan.onsrud. Sometimes a faster or better way to get help is to post your question to other students in the course in the INT601 folder on FirstClass.
  • On-campus Students: I am in the office most days and you are welcome to drop by or call at any time although appointments are sometimes better for longer discussions.

[1] Frankel, Mark S., Importance and Goals of RCR Education, CGS Workshop on Ethics and the Responsible Conduct of Research, 6 Dec 2004

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