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Comparative effectiveness of research ethics teaching methods

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  1. Comparative effectiveness of research ethics teaching methods Michael Kalichman and Dena Plemmons UC San Diego Research on Research Integrity Annual Meeting Niagara Falls, NY May 16, 2009

  2. Goal • Assess effectiveness of teaching research ethics • Challenges • Different teaching objectives • Different institutions and audiences • Different instructors • Assess relative effectiveness of different methods for teaching research ethics

  3. Approach: The Course • The course: Scientific Ethics (UC San Diego) • 10 sessions, 1-1/2 hrs per week • 3 sections each week • 2 instructors (DP, MK) • Teaching Methods: • Week 1: Lecture • Weeks 2-10 • Lecture + Small group case discussion • Lecture + Role play • Case-based Lecture

  4. Approach: The Students • Students • Graduate Students, some postdocs • Biology, Neurosciences,Other (e.g., Bioengineering) • UC San Diego,Other (Salk, The Scripps Research Institute) • Number • Total = 57 • 18 – 20 assigned per section

  5. Approach: Randomization L = Lecture + small group case discussion R = Lecture + role-play C = Case-based lecture


  6. Approach: Outcomes • Pre-Test: 18 multiple choice questions (2 for each of 9 topics) • Weekly Quiz: • 5 multiple choice questions • 3 attitude questions about the topic • 2 attitude questions about the survey (enjoyable? useful?) • Post-Test: Same as Pre-Test • Final Evaluation: Satisfaction, Perspectives

  7. Overall Impact of Course: Perceptions How if at all have your awareness, knowledge, skills, or attitudes been changed by participating in this course? • “not at all” • “not much”

  8. Overall Impact of Course: Perceptions How if at all have your awareness, knowledge, skills, or attitudes been changed by participating in this course? • “great increase in knowledge” • “definitely more aware and now know options available” • “the course stressed topics that are easy to ignore, …useful for recognizing similar situations before it's too late”

  9. Overall Impact of Course: Perceptions How if at all have your awareness, knowledge, skills, or attitudes been changed by participating in this course? • “…I will be able to more effectively deal with many types of situations” • “learned new strategies for dealing with complex ethical issues” • “I am now better prepared to deal with problems like the ones discussed in class”

  10. Overall Impact of Course: Perceptions How if at all have your awareness, knowledge, skills, or attitudes been changed by participating in this course? • “It has helped me to see other perspectives and change my mind on several topics.” • “it increase[d] my moral outrage”

  11. Sample Question #1 Research data are the property of: • The institution which employs those who are collecting the data. • The person(s) who collect the data. • The head of the research group that collects the data.

  12. Sample Question #2 The primary basis for requirements for review of human subjects research is in regulations created by the • State government • Federal government • University

  13. Overall Impact of Course: Knowledge • Knowledge improved (P<0.001) • However, improvement was modest • Pre-test median = 12.0 • Post-test median = 13.0

  14. Effects of Methods • Knowledge:No statistically significant difference among methods for any of the 9 test weeks. • Attitudes:No statistically significant difference among methods for any of the 9 test weeks.

  15. Perceptions of Methods • Useful or Enjoyable? • No statistically significant difference among methods for 5 of the 9 test weeks. • In 4 of the 9 test weeks, Lecture+Roleplay judged to be more enjoyable than Case-Based Lecture and/or Lecture+Case Discussion • In 3 of the 9 test weeks, Lecture+Roleplay was judged to be more effective than Case-Based Lecture and/or Lecture+Case Discussion • However, when different methods compared across all weeks (2-factor ANOVA), no effect of method.

  16. Student Preference - Methods • Which of the methods did you find to be mostuseful for meeting the goals of this course?

  17. Student Preference - Methods • Which of the methods did you find to be most enjoyable for meeting the goals of this course?

  18. Student Preference - Methods • In future courses, would you recommend using:

  19. Student Preference - Comments “I really disliked the role-playing.I didn’t think it was beneficial at all.” 13 of 51 respondents (>25%) specifically commented on not liking the role-play exercises

  20. Summary and Conclusions Summary • Student perceptions: positive impact on knowledge, skills, and attitudes • Knowledge improved, but is it worth the cost? • No difference in methods for knowledge or attitudes • Lecture+roleplay considered more enjoyable and/or useful during several weeks of course, but least liked overall at end of course • Mixed methods preferred Conclusions • Impact of course on attitudes needs to be assessed • Teachers may be more important than methods