Responsible Conduct of Research

James Campbell
(207) 548-2200

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 for ten class sessions (approximately five weeks during a regular semester).

  • On-campus Students: Typically Tues/Thurs, Mon/Wed or Wed/Fri, Room 336 Boardman Hall (Summer: M-F, 9:00 am or 1:00 pm). If you have a soft voice, please sit at the center of the table near the microphone so that students at a distance can pick up your voice.
  • Live Broadcasts: Available at http://connect.maine.edu/int601/ Online students must view and participate in the live sessions at the same time the campus class meets physically. (Note: If you are in a different time zone, consult http://www.timeanddate.com to determine the equivalent time in your location.) (Summer: M-F, 9:00 am or 1:00 pm)
  • Archived Broadcasts: Links to the class broadcasts are made available at the end of each day through a Class Videos 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 through links under the Lectures and Assignments web page. Backups of all course readings are provided in the Course Readings section of the Blackboard page for the course. Many of the resources are also 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


  • Delivery of Assignments and Class Notices:
    While assignments are made on the Lectures and Assignments web page, the course will use Blackboard for delivery of completed assignments.  Blackboard: Blackboard interfaces are automatically established for all UMaine courses each semester. Find Blackboard at https://mycampus.maine.edu (the yellow and black Bb icon). All officially enrolled students are automatically enrolled into the Blackboard course. The course should appear as active in your Blackboard course list. Click on INT 601 Responsible Conduct of Research.

    • Class Notices: The instructor will occasionally make announcements to all students on the main course page. The course website is also accessible from the left menu.
    • Module Assignments: Your regular module assignments will be submitted under the Module Assignments link under Assignments.
      • At the beginning of the course, copy all questions from the web syllabus for all nine modules into a single word processing document. This is your master module document. Remove all formatting from the document.
      • Before each module assignment deadline, provide responses to the questions for the current required module in your master document. Copy both the module questions and your responses from the master document to paste as indicated in the following steps:
      • Within Blackboard, go to Assignments > Module Assignments.
      • Click on the proper Module (A to I). On the page that comes up, click on “Write Assignment.” A text box will appear.
      • Paste the module questions and your responses to each into the text window (There must be NO formatting except for new lines and never attach a file in this section)
      • Click “Submit” to send the assignment.
    • Class Compilations by the Instructor: You will be able to see the compilation of module responses by fellow students before each class but after the delivery deadline (5 pm for the M-W section the night before the class in which the module will be discussed, 8 pm for the Tu-Th sections) under the Class Compilations link under Assignments.
    • End of Semester Files: These products must be delivered ONLY as Word, RTF, or PDF files and each will be delivered as file in the appropriate section under Assignments. Click on the appropriate item (Editor Report, etc.) and on the page that comes up, look for “Browse My Computer” to select the file from your computer to upload. Click on “Submit” to send the file. The files should be named starting with your last name and take the form of the following:
      • Smith – Editor Report
      • Smith – Module Response Compilation
      • Smith – Annotated Bibliography [or Other Final Project]
  • Participating Live at a Distance:
    Simply go to the ConnectPro web site established for the course found at http://connect.maine.edu/int601/ , 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. busy lab or a 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.
  • 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 james.j.campbell@maine.edu. We can then arrange a phone conversation or in-person meeting as needed. An alternative method might be to send a query to  selected (or all) classmates through the Blackboard message interface.

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