Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Blaine R. Worthen


A mail survey of a nationwide sample of department heads in university departments of mechanical engineering, physiology, and psychology was conducted, in order to determine what these departments were doing to educate their Ph.D. students in research ethics. Department heads were also asked to supply names of the Ph.D. students in their departments. Based on the survey responses, departments within each discipline were then divided into those placing a relatively high versus low emphasis on teaching research ethics. Random samples of students in each emphasis category for each discipline were then surveyed and asked to rate the seriousness of 44 different hypothetical acts of misconduct, to determine if students from departments placing relatively higher emphasis on research ethics education had stricter standards than those from departments placing relatively lower emphasis on research ethics education. The two major findings of the study were (a) the majority of departments in physiology and psychology require some form of formal education in research ethics of their Ph.D. students, but only a very small percentage of mechanical engineering departments require such training; (b) the present study found no evidence that education of Ph.D. students in research ethics has any effect on the strictness of their stated ethical standards.



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