Bioethics Blogs

Relevance of Case-Based Studies in Workshops on RCR for Diverse Audiences: the importance of including both (Part II)

Both parts I and II of this blog were originally published
as a commentary in the Office of Research Integrity’s Newsletter (
Volume 22, Number 2, March 2014 and has been reproduced with permission for the
AMBI blog.

In Part I, published last month, I discussed my experience
organizing and developing a responsible conduct of research (RCR) workshop for
stem cell scientists that was held at the Till and McCulloch Meeting in October
2013 as part of Canada’s Stem Cell Network at In Part
2, I discuss the importance of developing RCR pedagogy that includes both
lecture and informational components, and provides ethical cases such that
students have a rich understanding of normative, policy, and practical aspects
to different RCR topics.

Case-based learning has a place in bioethics and moral
analysis. Past cases of scandals and tragedies in human research have
established ethical norms and practices and have spurred the creation of
international codes of conduct. Today, case-based ethics pedagogy is also the
foundation of most training programs in clinical ethics and clinical ethics
consultation. Cases are effective in RCR training because they engage
scientists in thinking about ethical situations that occur in the lab. These
are situations that they can relate to, and some may be more commonplace (e.g.,
the stress of results not working out, favoritism, or authorship disputes),
whereas others may be scenarios they heard about (e.g., a questionable
retraction or possible contamination of solutions). Most of the second-year AMC
course on scientific integrity is to analyze and discuss cases.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.